Leigh Griffiths earns plaudits from Celtic boss Ronny Deila
Last Updated: 15/04/15 11:45pm
Celtic boss Ronny Deila reckons Leigh Griffiths has much more to offer after the striker scored a hat-trick in the 4-1 victory over Kilmarnock.
Griffiths came off the bench to take his tally to 15 for the campaign and stretch Celtic’s lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership to eight points.
Kris Commons had drawn Celtic level on the night, eight minutes after Killie defender Darryl Westlake stunned the home support with the opening goal on 50 minutes.
Griffiths recently raised a smile when he was caught on television eating a teacake, a Scottish delicacy, on the bench during a match at St Mirren Park, but the 24-year-old looks likely to start in the Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness Caley on Sunday.
Deila said: "He was fabulous. You can't do better than three goals and his contribution was excellent. He could be a kicker in American football, I think.
"He has improved a lot. He is training well and as a 24-hour athlete he is getting better and better - even though he eats cakes on the bench sometimes.
"But still it is just a start and we will continue working on small things to get him better and we will get even more goals."
And Deila acknowledged Griffiths looked as if he went onto the pitch with a point to prove to the Celtic boss, who has tinkered with his forward players all season.
Deila said: "It looks like that, and that is how you do it. That's what you expect from the other subs as well.
"You can be angry, but the only way to get back into the team is to really prove that you deserve to play like Leigh did today.
"Today was a very important win and we are into a very important week. If we can get into the last five games eight points ahead at least we have a very good chance.
Kilmarnock have now lost four games in succession and remain seven points ahead of Motherwell, who occupy the relegation play-off spot.
However, manager Gary Locke fancies his chances against teams in the bottom six after the split.
Locke said: "We have to look at the positives. We contained them for long spells and I thought we played reasonably well.
"Our season is not going to hinge on Celtic at Parkhead.
"We have five big games coming up and we have to make sure we win a few of them."