Leigh Griffiths has ridiculed Rangers’ approach to their Hampden drubbing against Celtic on Sunday, claiming the Ibrox club’s players were “bitten on the a**e” as a consequence of the bullish noises they made when the semi-final draw was initially made.
After Rangers had defeated Falkirk 4-1 in their quarter-final tie last month, manager Graeme Murty revealed that news of the last four pairing with their Old Firm rivals had been greeted with “raucous and loud” cheers from his players.
Celtic comprehensively reinforced their recent superiority in the fixture with their 4-0 victory at the national stadium, prompting Griffiths to suggest Rangers are as far away as ever from bridging the gap in quality between the teams.
“That was a game that they [Rangers] cheered for but you should be careful what you wish for in case it comes back to bite you on the a**e,” said the Celtic striker who replaced Moussa Dembele for the final ten minutes at Hampden.
“Is the gap getting bigger? When we bring our ‘A’ game, then nobody in Scotland can touch us. You saw that on Sunday. As to how the manner of that defeat will affect them, I don’t see how they can be happy after that. They’ll need to go back to the drawing board to find out where they’ve gone wrong. From start to finish, we dominated the game in every aspect. Their manager might have said before the tie that the gap between us was closing but those are his words. In our changing room, we just focus on the job in hand.
“At the end of the day, all that matters is that we get the job done. I could have had a goal myself near the end if Kieran Tierney had spotted me but he was trying to pick out Scott Sinclair instead. We had so much room in the box that it was 4-0 going on five or six.”
Celtic are now unbeaten in all ten Old Firm fixtures overseen by manager Brendan Rodgers, enjoying eight victories and two draws with an aggregate score of 25-6 in their favour.But as they set their sights on completing the historic feat of winning back-to-back domestic trebles, Griffiths does not believe games against Rangers are becoming a formality for the champions.
“No, that’s not the case,” he added. “You have to approach the game in the right manner and respect your opponents but as soon as the whistle goes we need to be focused on the job in hand. It was a great performance against Rangers but we need to take that into next week’s game against Hibs now.
“We have a chance to win a double treble, which would be a remarkable achievement. We’re only three points away from winning the league and, once we do that, we can concentrate on the Scottish Cup final.
“Once the title has been secured, I expect that the manager will give a run-out to the players who haven’t been featuring regularly and that means everyone will be in contention for a place in the final against Motherwell.”
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