Owen Coyle claims he came close to signing Celtic's Leigh Griffiths

Head coach Brendan Rodgers of Celtic looks on during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between FC Salzburg and Celtic at Red Bull Arena Wals-Siezenheim on October 4, 2018 in Salzburg,...

The out-of-work boss is a self-confessed admirer of Celtic's number nine.

Blackburn Rovers' Scottish manager Owen Coyle looks on before the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United at Ewood Park in Blackburn, north...

Owen Coyle has claimed he was once "very close" to signing Celtic's Leigh Griffiths.

Griffiths has scored 103 goals in 199 games for Celtic, but may not have quite so many had Coyle got his way while managing Major League Soccer side Houston Dynamo between December 2014 and May 2016.

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Appearing as a guest on BBC Radio 5 Live's Football Daily podcast, the Paisley-born boss said of the Bhoys number nine: "I’ve always been an admirer – I think he’s a very, very talented player.

 

"There’s no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, I was very close to taking him.

"He was out of the team under Ronny Deila and I was close to bringing him to Houston.

"I went to a game, he came on as a sub, scored one and made the other one in the second half.

Celtic's Scottish striker Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring the only goal during the UEFA Europa League group B football match between Celtic and Rosenborg at Celtic Park stadium in...

"And then he just carried on playing every week. From a chance of getting him to America…we never."

Griffiths enjoyed his most successful campaign to date under Deila, scoring 40 goals in 51 games throughout 2015-16 - the Norwegian's final season at Celtic Park.

Since then, the Scotland international has seen his impact reduced by the presence of Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, although he now only has the latter for company after Dembele's summer move to Lyon.

Odsonne Edouard of Celtic Glasgow and Head Coach Brendan Rodgers of Celtic Glasgow during the UEFA Europa League Group B match between FC Salzburg and Celtic Glasgow at Red Bull Arena on...

Griffiths caused controversy this week after dropping out of Alex McLeish's national team squad to focus on getting match fit.

Should Griffiths or Edouard be Celtic's main man up front?

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