Celtic manager Neil Lennon has confirmed that striker Leigh Griffiths won’t be leaving the club on loan in January, also telling The Scottish Sun that the player is looking better in training.

After returning to the first-team squad during the summer, Griffiths has struggled with injuries and fitness throughout the 2019/20 season but still remains in the manager’s plans.

He’s come off the bench in our last six league encounters but hasn’t managed to hit the back of the net since August.

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Lennon has now confirmed that the upcoming Dubai trip during the winter break will be a big chance for the striker to impress his coaches.

As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the manager said: “It’ll be important for Leigh and he knows that. He can be an asset for us. He won’t be going anywhere on loan, he’s too good a player for that and he’s not making waves to go.

“Day by day, week by week, he’s looking better in training. If we can get him fully fit for the long haul, there’s no way I’d let him go on loan.

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“He seems happy and he doesn’t seem distracted by anything. He’s making good progress and he’s very willing. We gave the boys a day off on Thursday and he came in — that’s a really good sign for me.”

Promising words, long way to go

Lennon’s update is obviously welcome. Fans have long been wondering when the striker is going to push on and get back to the kind of level that initially made him such a success at Celtic Park.

That he is improving on the training pitch is a great sign, because in matches he hasn’t managed to make much of an impact off the bench, despite going up against tiring sides.

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths / (Photo by Paul Ursachi/MB Media/Getty Images)

His minutes have been limited, but he’ll have to show more to get more starting opportunities, like the one he got in Romania recently.

Perhaps a bit of a squad reset in January will help his cause. He’ll have to impress, as Lennon says.

Right now, it looks like we’re in the market for a striker, adding even more competition for places in the starting eleven.

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