Dundee manager James McPake has praised on-loan striker Leigh Griffiths after his penalty sealed the Dee’s place in the Scottish Cup Fifth Round – but the Dens Park boss refused to get into the “situation” surrounding the former Scotland star.

Griffiths is expected to leave parent club Celtic at the end of the month and McPake has admitted he would like to sign him on a permanent basis, despite being miles off his best this season.

Rangers v Celtic - Scottish Cup
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

McPake confessed he was happy enough to see his side into the last 16 – where they were handed a tie against Peterhead.

“I’d have taken it before the game, you want to be in the hat for the next round,” McPake said.

“It wasn’t pretty, but we should have been out of sight with numerous chances.

“When you are making chances like that, I wanted to get Leigh on the pitch and ultimately he got the winner and that’s what he does when you get him right. When he is fit, he’s still one of the country’s best scorers.

“I want to give him credit because his all-round play was a bit better today, he was hungry and looked good. I don’t care about all the chat surrounding him.”

“I like Leigh, I’ve known him since he was 16. His record speaks for itself.

“He won us the game with a penalty, I want to give him credit. I’m not going to go into the situation with Leigh. It’s all I’ve been asked about it for three weeks.

“Let’s just concentrate on him getting Dundee into the next round.”

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