Celtic’s luck with injuries and fitness problems this season has been rotten for manager Neil Lennon.
From confirmed COVID-19 cases, to high-performing stars such as James Forrest and Christopher Jullien forced out of action, the reigning champions have suffered problem after problem this term.
After Leigh Griffiths’ well-documented issues this summer, the striker had looked well on his way to staying fit consistently and pushing towards a starting spot in Lennon’s eleven.
He even managed to earn a call up to Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad, winning his first cap in over to two years to help Scotland through to the Euros at Serbia’s expense.
However, a knee injury has ruled him out of a match he could well have started this evening, against Sparta Prague in the Europa League.
Albian Ajeti’s lacklustre display at the weekend, combined with supporter lust for a two-striker formation, could have influenced Lennon to hand Griffiths his second start of the season tonight.
Sadly he won’t play, although the problem is not thought to be too serious.
Lennon said in his pre-match press conference (Celtic YouTube): “Griffiths is out with a knee problem but he should be okay in the next few days. It’s just a bit too sore for him tomorrow.”
Griffiths came off the bench in the 2-2 draw against Hibs, so this must be an issue picked up in training this week.
Thankfully it shouldn’t keep him out for too long, but it’s another instance that could set back his fitness or make the manager think he can’t be relied upon.
The 30-year-old has picked up a lot of niggly injuries over the last few years and hopefully this isn’t one that develops into a bigger problem.
It’ll be very interesting to see what formation and strikeforce the manager now goes with tonight.
As always, we’ll bring you the team news and reaction as soon as it’s available.