LEIGH Griffiths scored on his first appearance in a Celtic jersey since December as the Scottish champions got their season underway with a comfortable win over SC Pinkafeld in Austria.

The striker played the first 45 minutes of a game played in stifling conditions, and although he struggled to get involved in the early proceedings, he made his mark on the game by scoring in typically predatory fashion.

Neil Lennon sent out a side that contained a mixture of youth and experience, with Scott Sinclair captaining the side in the absence of Scott Brown.

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It was a quiet opening to the match, but the hosts took a shock lead midway through the first half as a powerful free-kick from Dominik Sperl was spilled by Conor Hazard, allowing Michael Pahr to follow in and tap home.

Celtic restored parity soon after though, as an Anthony Ralston ball down the right channel released Calvin Miller, who cut back onto his left foot and drilled a low ball across goal that Griffiths was on hand to tap into the net.

The forward could and should have had another as a low ball from Armstrong Oko-Flex found him free I the area, but this time, keeper Andreas Diridi spread himself to help his effort onto the post.

Celtic boss Lennon made nine changes at the interval as a second-string team were given the chance to impress in the second half, with Barry Coffey and Stephen Welsh the only players to retain their places as Andrew Gutman was given a debut at left-back.

It took the young Celts only seconds to take the lead, as a through-ball from Ewan Henderson sent Mikey Johnston – who had taken the armband – clear, and the forward slotted low past the keeper.


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Henderson then got himself in on the act as he picked the ball up on the edge of the area and curled a low shot away that the keeper could only help on its way into the net.

The midfielder was impressing, and he went close again as a run in behind saw him in on the Diridi, but this time he screwed his shot wide.

Johnston then cut inside past three players and played a lovely reverse-pass into Oko-Flex - who had returned to the action - and the attacker produced a cute finish over the keeper with the outside of his boot.

Celtic were now cutting through at will, and they got another as the ball broke the way of Jack Aitchison in the area and the forward coolly rolled the ball home, before he then turned provider for Johnston to round things off from 12 yards.