Leigh Griffiths’ fitness levels still aren’t at his top condition, according to the player himself.
Griffiths went ahead and bagged goal number three for the season against Motherwell yesterday. It added to strikes against Nomme Kalju and St Johnstone respectively. But there’s no denying his free-kick yesterday against the Steelmen was likely the most important one yet.
The goal was part of yet another sharp display from the Scotland international. He caused Charles Dunne and Declan Gallagher all sorts of problems at the back. It was just his third start of the season however, with his other two outings coming from the bench.
But despite his fine start to the 2019/20 campaign, Griffiths has sent out an ominous warning to the rest of Scottish football. Speaking to BBC Sportsound, he claimed the best is yet to come from him.
“I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get my fitness levels to where I want them. I’d like to think my best is still to come. Whether the manager brings another striker in i up to him, but two strikers scored today and there are three of us hungry for that one spot.
“It was very hot out there but the pitch was brilliant, slick. It took us 10-15 minutes to get going, but after that we controlled the game.
“Motherwell always make it difficult for you, and we haven’t won here in a while. But it just shows the character we have to bounce straight back from the opening goal.”
Griffiths’ fitness levels remain a mystery
Sure, we’re not going to pretend everything Griffiths has done so far has been perfect. He can certainly get a tad sharper and hold up the ball more efficiently. But, at the end of the day, his rise back up the ranks at Parkhead has been an incredible watch.
His finishing exploits seem to be back to where it was before his setback. It’s scary to think that Griffiths believes he has another couple of levels to find.
His lack of fitness, however, could be highlighted in his lack o game-time. Griffiths may have started three of his five outings this season. But unfortunately, he’s only finished one of them – the effective dead-rubber in Kalju.
Yesterday, Griff was hooked after 62 minutes for Odsonne Edouard. Against Kalju at Parkhead, he lasted 59. In his other two matches against Sarajevo and St Johnstone – he came on for 12 and 14 minutes respectively.
So it’s clear Lennon is still trying to manage him back in. It’s not a case of because he played 90 minutes in Estonia that he can then do so on a weekly basis. He needs to build that level of fitness up if he’s going to be so consistent.
But nobody knows outside of Griffiths and Lennon just how far away he is. It remains an intriguing mystery. But the fact he’s producing the goods even when he isn’t 100% is ominously frightening for Scottish football.