Starting ahead of Nadir Cifti was a massive boost, says Celtic star Leigh Griffiths

The Livingston academy product is finally settling at Parkhead.

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has aired his delight at the way the season has started for him and claimed that Ronny Deila’s decision to start him against Malmo ahead of Nadir Cifti was a huge boost.

“It has been massive for me to score in Europe this season. It was disappointing not to go through against Malmö, but it gave me a lot of confidence to get the nod ahead of Nadir Ciftci, who had started the previous European games, and score twice that night,” Griffiths told the Scotsman.

The 25-year old’s goals were not enough to ensure progression to the Champions League group stages but they have helped to establish him as the Hoops main man up front, ahead of summer signing Cifti.

Griffiths endured a tough first year at Parkhead - with on-loan Manchester City forward John Guidetti taking many of the plaudits and injury hampering his progress - but has now started to display the form that tempted Celtic to prise him from Wolves.

“The season has gone better than I could have hoped for so far,” added the Scot.

“As well as getting my first European goals, I’ve got back into the Scotland squad. It’s not just about scoring goals, which is obviously what strikers thrive on, but it’s about playing well and I’ve been doing that.

“I probably wouldn’t recognise myself from where I was a year ago.”

Celtic fans will be hopeful the diminutive striker maintains his impressive form, and Deila will need him firing on all cylinders if they are to progress from a tough Europa League group.

The Hoops begin their continental campaign with a testing trip to the Amsterdam Arena to face Ajax, in a group that also contains Fenerbache and Molde.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch