Pundit Kris Commons thinks it’s too soon to suggest that Leigh Griffiths is on his way out of Celtic this January, writing in his Scottish Daily Mail column (09/12 print edition, Verdict supplement page 9).
The striker was completely absent from the match squad on Sunday as the Hoops beat rivals Rangers in the Scottish League Cup final.
That was despite Odsonne Edouard not making the starting eleven and Griffiths getting first-team minutes recently, including against Hamilton midweek.
Lewis Morgan was preferred in attack.
Commons thinks that suggestions he’s seen from some fans that Griffiths has been written off and is set to imminently be sold are wide of the mark and that Lennon will continue to provide backing to the striker.
As quoted by The Scottish Daily Mail (09/12 print edition, Verdict supplement page 9), he said: “As far as they [some Celtic fans] are concerned, yesterday offered the clearest sign yet that Griffiths will be leaving the club in January.
“It’s still too early to say that with any certainty.
“He’ll [Lennon] try everything he possibly can to help Griffiths and offer him a way back into the first team as the striker battles back from off-field issues.
“Griffiths’ absence against Rangers sparked a lot of debate on social media. Lewis Morgan is a decent player and has been doing well recently. But he’s not a striker and he’s not a proper goal threat in the way that Edouard and a fully-fit-and-firing Griffiths are. It’s wrong for people to have a dig at Griffiths given the problems he’s had off the pitch.”
Can he still make a consistent comeback?
If Lennon had no use for Griffiths then it’s doubtful that he’d have been included from the bench in recent matches. It’s not as if other fringe players are being used in such a manner of late. Just look at Scott Sinclair or Jack Hendry for proof of that.
Odsonne Edouard is always going to be our main man but even if Celtic go out and sign another striker, there’s still room for Griffiths.
Vakoun Bayo has hardly earned his keep since joining in January and the Scotland international has a much better track record of scoring consistently.
I’d personally like to see Griffiths in the team ahead of Morgan, but if he isn’t fully fit then there’s not much the manager can do. His exclusion on Sunday was likely less a judgement on his Celtic future and more to do with his readiness to compete at a high intensity.
As Commons notes, there’s still time for him to reach that level.