Leigh Griffiths today returned to Wolves with a glowing endorsement following a training stint with Hibernian this week.
The Scotland international returned to Edinburgh after last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bradford with permission from head coach Kenny Jackett to catch up with his family.
The 23-year-old phoned to ask if he could train with Hibs, where he scored 28 goals on loan last season.
He rejoined them in the countdown to last night’s League Cup quarter-final against Hearts which they lost 1-0, watched by Griffiths.
Hibs defender James McPake believes the Wolves hotshot is a changed man.
“It shows a great turnaround in him because no way would the Leigh Griffiths of three years ago be asking to come in and train with us,” said the former Coventry defender, who also played all through Griffiths’s early career with his first club Livingston.
“When I got the text I said: ‘That’s not really him, is it? Somebody’s having a wind-up!’ But he’s been involved, and by all accounts he was outstanding.
“Every Hibs fan in the world wishes he could play for us. If we could sort out some kind of two-day loan, it would have been perfect.”
McPake said Griffiths’s presence gave the squad an added boost.
“It’s helped, having a top player like him coming in,” he said.
“He’s a great boy about the place and it’s brought others on, getting to train with a guy like him.
“Guys like James Collins and Rowan Vine have been saying: ‘Hey, he’s not coming in here and showing he’s still the top dog here – I want to be that now’.”
McPake admits Griffiths had to leave Edinburgh for the sake of his career however after being caught up in off-field troubles.
“As much as losing him as a player affected us as a team, he had to get back down south for the sake of his career,” he said.
“Leigh will go as far - he’ll get to the Premier League one day.
“But the biggest thing was getting out of Edinburgh.”
Griffiths has gone on to win three full Scotland caps since his loan stint at Easter Road and McPake believes Hhibs boss Pat Fenlon has been a big influence on the nine-goal striker.
“The amount of times we’ve heard that if it wasn’t for Leigh Griffiths then Pat Fenlon wouldn’t have his job has been frightening,” said McPake.
“But if it wasn’t for Pat Fenlon where would Leigh Griffiths be right now?
“Leigh would say the exact same thing.”