Scottish Premiership - Griffiths gets Samaras backing

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras insists Leigh Griffiths is good enough to fit straight into the Parkhead line-up.

PA Sport Report
Scottish Premiership - Griffiths gets Samaras backing

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Leigh Griffiths, pictured, has been backed to be successful at Celtic

The former Hibernian striker was left out of the Hoops squad for Sunday's 1-0 Scottish Premiership win over St Mirren following his deadline-day move from Wolves.

But Greek international Samaras believes the Scotland international has the quality to make an instant impact.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's William Hill Scottish Cup tie with Aberdeen, he told CelticTV: "Any player of his quality will be good for the team.

"We know him from the past when he played for Hibs. He is a very good player and hopefully he will adapt to life at Celtic and the atmosphere in the dressing room so he can give 100 per cent in his first few games.

"He certainly has the ability to do that. He can play in more than one position which is good as well.

"He's good with the ball, he has great pace and is a good finisher.

"Hopefully everything will go right and he will help that team as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Celtic have announced plans to honour former owner Fergus McCann as the club marks the 20th anniversary of the Canada-based business's Parkhead takeover.

The Hoops were on the brink of a financial meltdown when McCann rescued the club back in 1994.

Within five years he had sold-up, leaving the club with a newly-redeveloped 60,000-seater home and a league championship crown to prevent arch rivals Rangers making in 10-in-a-row.

However, he proved to be a decisive figure amongst the Celtic support, with his cautionary spending at a time when the Ibrox side were splashing millions on players, and was booed by the Parkhead crowd as he helped unveil the league flag the season after their 1998 success.

But now the club's chief executive Peter Lawwell has announced McCann will be welcomed back to Celtic Park for the first home league match of next season as the club's guest of honour.

Lawwell said: "2014 is a very special year for Celtic as it marks the 20th anniversary of Fergus's takeover of Celtic and it is absolutely right that the special contribution he made to Celtic is marked in this way.

"Fergus's intervention in 1994 delivered the current Celtic Park, at the time the largest club stadium in Britain and ultimately, he re-established Celtic as a footballing force by winning the Scottish Premier League in season 1997/98.

"He enabled supporters to take a stake in the club they loved, to be part of something and once again have pride in their team. He energised and motivated our support and our supporters responded brilliantly by backing his vision.

"A true Celtic supporter, Fergus delivered huge personal investment, sound leadership and tremendous vision during his tenure at Celtic. He showed unwavering determination and resilience to ensure his club could once again flourish and his contribution has led directly to the position of health which our club is in today.

"I know I speak for thousands of Celtic supporters when I thank Fergus sincerely for all he achieved at Celtic and I am sure we will join together in August to remember and celebrate his magnificent achievements."

Celtic boss Neil Lennon added: "The first time I met Fergus was at Fenway Park in Boston. It was a pleasure to meet him and I felt it was very important that the players met him too on that occasion. He was very humble about all his achievements, something which says a lot about him as a man.

"There are many great figures in Celtic's proud history and for me, Fergus McCann is right up there as one of our most important."

Fergus McCann said: "It is very kind of the club and supporters to think of me and to offer this gesture. It is incredible to think that 20 years have passed since the takeover.

"It gives me great pleasure to see Celtic as such a successful and well-run club as it is today. That is credit to the faithful backing of the supporters, also the investors, and, since I left, the vision and management of the board, Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon and their staff and players."

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