Celtic's Leigh Griffiths savours Champions League tilt

Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths
Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths celebrated an aggregate win over Hapoel Beer Sheva

Leigh Griffiths is relishing the opportunity to prove himself in the Champions League group stage after Celtic overcame Hapoel Beer Sheva.

Though Celtic lost 2-0 in Israel, the Scottish champions won the play-off 5-4 on aggregate.

Griffiths was twice part of Celtic sides that lost at the play-off stage.

"For me, personally, you don't really make it as a footballer unless you've played Champions League football," said Griffiths.

"When I signed for this club, I wanted to play Champions League football and the last two seasons have been very disappointing. I started to think of myself as a jinx but we're there now.

"We had a meeting during pre-season of our targets for the season. This was number one - to get to the group stage of the Champions League, it's where every player wants to be. It's the pinnacle of your club career.

"My next test is trying to prove myself as a main Champions League striker and I can only do that by playing the group stages.

"We're going to draw at least one big name. We're just going to enjoy the draw [on Thursday]."

Griffiths scored twice in last week's 5-2 win over Hapoel at Celtic Park and captain Scott Brown's goal - the fifth - proved to be the eventual winner of the tie.

"It's just great just to chip in," said the skipper. "It's been a long time since I've scored so I couldn't ask for a better goal.

"We had to dig deep [in Israel]. It wasn't the best performance in the world."

Celtic captain Scott Brown

Brown, who has played in four group stage campaigns, was asked if he felt Celtic were ready for the next phase and replied: "Definitely."

"The gaffer might bring in one or two more," he added.

Craig Gordon saves Maharan Radi's penalty
Craig Gordon's first-half penalty save denied Maharan Radi

Craig Gordon

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon saved a first-half penalty when the score was 0-0 and, like Griffiths, is savouring his first Champions League group stage.

"I'm 33 now and I'll hopefully get my first taste of it," said the Scotland stopper.

"To reach what is probably the best club competition in the world, it's pretty special considering where I've come from. I want to go and prove I'm capable of playing at that level. It's just really exciting.

"I don't mind who we get, it's just great to be there."

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