Leigh Griffiths' Celtic career at a standstill, while agonisingly close to a Henrik Larsson milestone

By Euan Davidson

March 13, 2021

Poor old Leigh Griffiths.

During a season in which Celtic desperately needed more goals, the fox-in-the-box striker has largely been missing. Would it surprise you to learn that he’s made fewer appearances than Albian Ajeti this season? Moreover, would you baulk at the claim that he’s been the 20th-best player for the Bhoys this season [WhoScored?].

It’s worlds away from when Griffiths was unstoppable for club and country. Sparky has caused some problems for the Bhoys this year. He turned up to pre-season training out of shape [Sun], and caused a minor Covid scandal in August [Herald].

With 10-in-a-row on the line, and a chance to play for Scotland and a major tournament, questions have to be asked. My esteemed colleague David Walton argued that summer of 2021 would be crucial for the striker. Now, though, Griffiths is presumably devastated at how things are working out for him.

All this, while Griff is just 11 goals shy of equalling Henrik Larsson’s record of surpassing 100 league goals for Celtic [Scotsman]. He would be only the second person since the turn of the millennium to reach that Bhoys milestone. What a shame it would be for him to leave before he’s able to do that.

Leigh Griffiths knows the pressure is on / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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The future of Leigh Griffiths, you’d have thought, will depend on the manager that comes in. Griff hasn’t seemed as motivated under Neil Lennon, and that could be down to a variety of factors that don’t include the ex-Celtic boss.

But with every Celtic player under pressure to justify a squad place over the next 6 months, the future looks precarious for the Scotland striker.

Equally, while Scotland aren’t blessed with striking talent, Griffiths is by no means guaranteed a spot in the squad. Even his status as a super-sub is under threat, given his lack of game-time for Celtic. None of Oli McBurnie, Oliver Burke, Callum Paterson or Lyndon Dykes have truly impressed this season, yet there’s nothing to suggest Griffiths tops that list of options.

There are plenty of players in the squad who will need to prove themselves after the Premiership split. For many, it’s their last chance at the club.

Griffiths’ contract runs out in the summer of 2022. If he doesn’t shape up under Kennedy, then the club will likely look to move him on. He might slip the net under someone like Sean Dyche or Roy Keane, but if a fitness-focussed, high-tempo craving European-style coach comes in then Griffiths has plenty to prove.

Here’s hoping he can get back on track. A big cameo in the upcoming Glasgow Derby might be a massive opportunity.

But he’s got to show he wants to be at the club, and star in a major tournament for Scotland.

READ MORE: The simple message ahead of the Glasgow Derby.


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