McPake: No concerns about playing Leigh Griffiths against Rangers

The Dundee boss says his on-loan Celtic striker can handle the occasion.

McPake: No concerns about playing Leigh Griffiths against Rangers Mark Scates via SNS Group
McPake signed his former team-mate on loan from Celtic.

James McPake insists he has no reservations about playing Leigh Griffiths against Rangers on Saturday.

The striker, on loan from Celtic for the season, is likely to get a loud reception from the away support at Dens Park when Dundee face the champions.

Griffiths also finds himself in the spotlight after being charged with “culpable and reckless conduct” after being accused of kicking a smoke bomb at St Johnstone fans during a Premier Sports Cup quarter-final clash. The forward had already issued a statement apologising for the incident, claiming he had only meant to remove the smoke bomb from the pitch.

“I have absolutely no concerns about playing Leigh against Rangers, Hearts, whoever it is,” Dundee manager McPake said.

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“I know Leigh as a character and he’ll handle the occasion.”

Griffiths is yet to find the net since returning to Dundee on transfer deadline day but McPake has his fingers crossed that this is the game where the striker can get off the mark.

“I’m hoping that it is, and that we create the chances,” he said.

“If we keep creating those clear-cut chances and if they fall to Leigh then there’ll be goals.”

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Dundee are still awaiting their first win since returning to the top flight but the manager said that he knew the team was playing well enough to get results and wouldn’t lose the support of their fans, especially when facing a tough challenge.

“Yeah, we’re winless but performances have been good,” he said. “I question myself at times if I keep coming out and saying that but it’s the truth. Anyone that’s watching back can see the clear-cut chances we’re making.

“There may not be as many tomorrow because we’re playing a Rangers team who are the champions. Steven Gerrard has made them a formidable outfit, to say the least.

“We’ve got to have a game plan. We want these games and that’s the reason we wanted back in the Premiership, for Rangers and Celtic coming here and the derbies. Of course we’re exited but we need to have a game plan and we need to stick to it.

“The fans will be behind us, there’s no question about that. Regardless of whether you’ve won none in ten or ten out of ten games.”