Leigh Griffiths identifies what has 'killed Celtic' in title tussle with Rangers

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has maintained it was not the latest derby loss that has left the club with no chance of clinching 10-in-a-row, but the five previous games they have dropped points this season.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths comes close during a dominant first half for Neil Lennon's men that gave way to a 1-0 derby loss. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths comes close during a dominant first half for Neil Lennon's men that gave way to a 1-0 derby loss. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

The 30-year-old refused to concede the championship to victors Rangers despite the 19-point chasm between the pair following the 1-0 loss at Ibrox, but accepted his team have been “killed” by four draws and a previous derby loss leading up to the January edition of the fabled fixture.

“The first half was the best we have played all season. And I don’t think have Rangers have had a shot on target all game,” he said, while acknowledging that “if you don’t take your chances, you don’t win”. ‘It’s disappointing but it’s the games at the start of the season that have killed us, to be honest. The start of the season was not good enough. If we had been putting in performances like that we would not be in this position. It’s not just the first half performance today, we have been playing really well over the past few weeks. First half we were unlucky not to be a couple of goals ahead. We regrouped and went out to play the same way. I think the red card changed the game.”

Celtic: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Celtic: Get the latest team news, match previews and reports

Nir Bitton had yet to explain his thinking in hauling down Alfredo Morelos to earn a 62nd-minute dismissal, Girffiths said, but the Scotland international had no difficulty explaining why he was thwarted by Allan McGregor in the other key moment, his well-placed drive somehow clawed away by the Rangers man. ‘I thought it was in. But he is a world-class goalkeeper,” said Griffiths. “ That’s what he brings you – he wins you points. I couldn’t have hit it any sweeter. He got his fingertips to it and it’s hit the post. Listen, it was a chance and I never put it away.”

But “naw” he offered when asked if the day was defining for a squad that headed away to a winter sun training camp in Dubai straight afterwards. “Listen, we will keep fighting until the end until it’s mathematically impossible for us to win the league,” he said. “We will go away we will reflect on it, work hard and prepare for Hibs.”

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