By Matt Farr
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has hit back at Rangers chairman Dave King after his criticism of the club’s recent achievements.
The Glasgow giants stormed to a sixth successive Scottish Premiership title during the 2016-17 campaign, finishing the entire domestic season unbeaten and winning a first domestic treble since the turn of the century.
Rangers, meanwhile, limped to a third-placed finish in the league, finishing a stunning 39 points adrift of their Old Firm rivals, whilst struggling to compete in cup competitions.
The two sides met on six occasions throughout the 2016-17 campaign, but Celtic made their dominance abundantly clear with five wins, including two victories by a four-goal margin.
However, Rangers chief King has ruffled a few feathers in the rival camp by claiming Celtic should have finished much further ahead of his club.
He had said, as quoted by the Scottish Sun: “Given that we were in the wilderness for four years I don’t think Celtic did as much in that four years as they could have done.”
But King’s critical comments have sparked a fiery response from Celtic star Griffiths, who scored 18 goals during their treble-winning success last term.
He told the Sun: “What was the gulf, 30-odd points? How big does he expect it to be?
“They were touting at the start of this year that they were going to win the league and this and that. Joey Barton was coming up to be the best player in Scotland.
“He only lasted a few months. The first game they got hammered 5-1, they got hammered 5-1 in the last game of the season. The gulf couldn’t be any bigger.”
Such a war of words can be expected between the two clubs given their history, but such a rivalry has been rarely put to action on the pitch of late given Rangers’ recent absence from the top flight.
Rangers were dismissed to the foot of the Scottish football pyramid ahead of the 2012-13 season following their financial troubles and insolvency, but returned to the top-flight last season.
The two sides will be expected to compete for the league title once again next season, and while Celtic will be looking to defend their domestic treble, Rangers will be first hoping to reduce the gap.
In other Celtic news, the Scottish club are reportedly lining up a move for this £3million-rated defender.