Former Celtic player and assistant manager John Collins has given some words of support to Leigh Griffiths.
Griffiths is set to return to pre-season training with the Hoops tomorrow. That comes after a three-month sabbatical from football due to personal issues. Griff has been training and building up his fitness since March, but hasn’t taken part in full first-team training as of yet.
And it’s fair to say a return to the form of 2015-16 would be ideal for him. That was the campaign in which he managed 40 goals, and it came under Ronny Deila and Collins respectively. Since then, Griffiths has struggled to come anywhere close to that target.
In Brendan Rodgers’ first campaign, Griff rattled home 18 goals in 38 appearances. The year after, he produced just 13 goals in 39 outings. And this year, his tally remains at six after missing several months of action. Speaking in the Daily Record, Collins urged Griffiths to get back to those heights.
“The boy has a lot of talent. The hardest thing in football is to score goals and he knows how to do it. But he has to learn that you need to be dedicated to playing 50 or 60 games a season. And for the last few years he hasn’t been able to do that.
“So he has to take a long look at himself in the mirror and ask the question.
“You can be the best player in the world, but if you don’t have your fitness you won’t perform. You need to take care of yourself, and that’s not just exclusive to Leigh.”
Fresh state of mind
Collins has a point in that Griffiths has been capable of producing more than he has over the last several years. But he’s also missing out one key point too.
Under Rodgers, the Northern Irishman often seemed reluctant to give Griffiths a run of games. Instead, he was often pushed behind the likes of Moussa Dembele and, over the last two seasons, Odsonne Edouard respectively.
During Griff’s 40-goal run under Deila and Collins, he managed 51 appearances. Griffiths hasn’t had anywhere near that amount of matches in a single season since then.
Of course it’s down to the Scotland striker to make his manager take notice of him. Under Rodgers, however, it never seemed to matter how well Griffiths did, he would never really get the run of games his cameo appearances deserved.
Hopefully, that changes under Neil Lennon – the man who first brought Griffiths to Parkhead back in 2014. If he can get a tune out of Scotland’s number one striker, then we could see a return to those dizzy heights reached back in 2015-16.