I love to read about history and it’s probably not going to surprise anybody to learn that one of the stories that tickles me is that of the Jacobite Toast.
For those unfamiliar with it, it’s a reference to an old custom which took root after the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Jacobite supporters, whenever they were asked to drink a toast to the monarch, would stand and say “God save the King”, holding up their wine glasses. Then, at the very last second, they would pass their drink over a container of water, in symbolism of the “real” king, “the king over the water”; i.e. whoever was the Stuart claimant to the throne.
For two years, as some Celtic fans – myself included – have lauded the guy who left us in disgrace this week, others have yearned for the return of the true King, the only player in the current squad who has, or had, any true claim on the throne vacated by the King of Kings himself, Henrik Larsson.
That player just scored his 100th goal for us.
That player, who has been in and out of Brendan’s team, has shown us the very highest loyalty.
That person wants to sign a new deal and end his career with us.
That player will have a flag on The Celtic Way.
It is time for Leigh Griffiths to step up and grab the crown again.
I believed that the backstabbing Frenchman was a better player. I have never doubted that Leigh Griffiths is a better striker, a better goal-scorer. From the moment I first saw Leigh Griffiths play for Hibs (he was at Dundee before that, but my memory of him there is sketchy) I thought to myself “that boy is going to play for us one day.” Read back through the archives, I was promoting him online for years.
I met him once, shortly after his first full season ended, at a function at Celtic Park.
I grabbed his hand and spoke to him with an earnestness that put the fear of God in his eyes; he must have thought “Who is this loony?” But what I said to him was that he would be the next Celtic player to score 100 goals.
Would I have said it had I known how close Kris Commons was to the same prize?
Would I have said it had I known he’d be out of the team for months at a time, supplanted by another?
You’re damned right I would.
Leigh Griffiths is one of my Celtic heroes.
Two years ago, almost to the day, I was lamenting his absence for this very same fixture, although I did have faith that the guy we’d put in as his replacement could do a job for us, which of course he did. But I don’t know one Celtic fan, and I include myself amongst them, who would have dropped a fully-fit Griffiths that day had he been available to us. He had come off the back of a 40 plus goal campaign.
Every crisis presents an opportunity. I write that often on this site. And whilst I don’t think Celtic is in crisis – in fact, we’re not, I think those who suggest otherwise are talking contemptible bollocks – our current mess does afford a chance for some who have long been on the side-lines to seize the moment and make of it what they can. Ryan Christie remains here, for one, and so too does Scott Allan; both will play in the coming months.
But Griffiths is the heir apparent. He was once the lord of all he surveyed at Parkhead, only for the usurper to take his place. That’s over now and the throne that was rightfully his is free once more. This time I do not expect him to relinquish it.
Go and get it Leigh Griffiths.
Long live the King.