Celtic: Leigh Griffiths says top flight misses Championship trio

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Sport
Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths enjoyed two successful loan spells with Hibernian before moving to Celtic
Scottish Cup fourth round: Hearts v Celtic
Date: Sunday, 30 November Venue: Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB/online; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; highlights on BBC One Scotland at 22:30 GMT

Leigh Griffiths believes the Scottish Premiership is not as good without Hearts, Rangers and Hibernian.

The Celtic front-man is hoping to be in the side for Sunday's Scottish Cup meeting with Hearts at Tynecastle.

And he would love to be going back to the Edinburgh venue next season.

"The [top flight] misses them all - Hearts, Rangers, Hibs, it's not really the same without them, but the circumstances are what they are," Griffiths told BBC Scotland.

And he added: "They're in that league for a reason but hopefully two of them come back up this season and it will be great for Scottish football."

Hearts, who along with Hibs and Rangers are all battling to win promotion from the Championship this season, welcome Celtic to Tynecastle in fourth round action at the weekend.

And Griffiths expects an occasion to remember.

Leigh Griffiths
Leigh Griffiths was left gutted after missing as chance in the 3-1 Europa League defeat to Salzburg

"The atmosphere will be rocking, Hearts are flying just now," he said.

"They're a good side and they came here and proved that [in 3-0 Celtic win in the League Cup] - if they had taken their chances in the first half the result might have been different.

"But we'll go there looking to win and put our name in the hat for the next round."

Griffiths was speaking after his side's 3-1 Europa League defeat at home to Salzburg.

The hitman squandered a great chance to square it at 2-2 in the second half, but Celtic still qualified for the last 32 thanks to Astra Giurgiu's win over Dinamo Zagreb in Romania.

"Salzburg are a really decent team and they press well," said Griffiths.

"They went to Dinamo Zagreb and won 5-1 and you don't do that unless you're a good team. But we ran them close tonight and we go to Zagreb full of confidence. When the last 32 comes we'll be ready.

"We limited them to very few chances in the second half, it was pretty much one sided. I should have scored with my header, I tried to put it back across the goalkeeper when I should have headed it downwards.

"We're through in the end and that's what we wanted."