It was terrific to see Leigh Griffiths back in action on Saturday, and it should end any January plans for a new striker too.
Griff made a real positive contribution against Livingston after coming on with the score at 3-0. He got into some terrific positions, with one in particular seeing him collect a fine Jeremie Frimpong cross but failing to direct it home. He also had an effort from around 20 yards deflected over as he injected some fresh energy to proceedings.
Neil Lennon, before Griff came back from injury, previously hinted at potentially signing a striker in January. He told the BBC that it was a possibility when both Griffiths and Vakoun Bayo were sidelined.
The latter still is, but Griffiths’ return should end any plans to add a fourth front-man into the mix. Why? Because Celtic simply don’t require one anymore.
If we had gone into January with no sign of Griffiths or Bayo coming back, then it would’ve made sense. Odsonne Edouard couldn’t have been expected to play every single game, and some cover would’ve been needed.
Not enough first-team places for four strikers
However, we now have two options available to play in a one-striker formation. Griffiths will hopefully get plenty of games between now and the New Year, but he’ll still likely be limited to the lower-profile matches.
Added to that, it’s important to remember that Bayo should be back in a few weeks going by his original timeframe. It was nearly four weeks ago that Lenny stated that Bayo could be out for six (STV). At the very latest, we would all be hoping he’s back well before the January window.
The first game after the winter break isn’t until January 18th or 19th either. That gives Bayo just under two months to recover before any new January signing could even play their first game.
When he’s back, is there really any need for a fourth choice? It’s important to keep in mind we only play with one up top in any case. Keeping four fit strikers happy over the course of the second half of the season would be difficult.
If Bayo or Griff were scheduled to be out until March or April, it would be more understandable. Going with two options is still risky. However, when all three are fit, and all three should be for January 18th/19th, there isn’t room for a fourth.
Griffiths’ return after weeks of mystery over his injury problems is a big boost. It likely won’t put to bed any January rumours regarding a forward, but it should put to bed our intentions to sign one.