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Thursday 29 September 2016

Griffiths: Shitov challenge was 'just handbags'

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Photo: PA Wire
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Photo: PA Wire

FC Astana have taken to their official Twitter account to post a clip of Leigh Griffiths' clash with Igor Shitov which earned the Celtic striker a yellow card in Wednesday night's 1-1 draw in Kazakhstan.

The Tweet translates to 'Griffiths punches Shitov in the match' and the footage shows the Hoops forward appearing to push the Belarus international defender to the ground inside the penalty box during the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round at the Astana Arena.

Italian referee Paolo Mazzoleni booked Griffiths, who scored two minutes later to level the first-half opener from defender Yuri Logvinenko.

After the game, Griffiths told a number of newspapers: "There was a bit of handbags and one of their men went down. Both of us could have been booked to be honest.

"The ref could have let it go but I was the one who got booked.

"But I managed to silence the crowd a few minutes later so it worked out fine."

Griffiths, who grabbed his second goal of the season, has no doubt that Celtic will progress to the play-offs.

And the Scotland striker warned Astana that the Hoops will be looking to start the return game next week as positively as they had in the previous qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps, when they blew away the part-timers to recover the shock 1-0 first-leg defeat with a 3-0 win.

"We got that away goal and now we'll look to build on that next week," he said.

"We'll come out of the traps flying, like we did against Lincoln and hopefully we will get that early goal and try and kill their confidence.

"The big man (Junior Kabananga) was a handful up front for them but I have no doubts about our defence next week and the way we set up and I think next week we'll definitely finish the job off.

"We kept our head down and kept working hard and deserved our away goal."

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