Leigh Griffiths’ Celtic career has certainly had more ups than downs, but now he faces his biggest on-field challenge yet.
Celtic’s confirmation of the Patryk Klimala signing has added some genuine competition for Griff in the battle to partner Odsonne Edouard. The £3.5m Celtic splashed on him also suggests he’ll be coming right in as the number two (Scottish Sun).
Meanwhile, Griffiths has been struggling in recent times. He’s made 10 appearances since recovering from a hamstring injury in October, yet has failed to score in any of them. But in fairness to the treble-treble winner, nine of them came from the bench (Transfermarkt).
Even so, it’s imperative that he now takes the advice given by big John Hartson yesterday. Speaking to the BBC about the Griffiths situation, Hartson stated the following:
“If you’re Leigh Griffiths, you see it as a challenge. You want to stay and prove you can still do it at this level. He’s been pivotal to Celtic’s success in recent years. Leigh is a goalscorer.
“It will be interesting to see whether there are whispers that he’s really not happy, wants to move, wants more game time, or can Neil persuade him and say there are still opportunities and he still has a major part to play.
“When you’ve got too many players fighting for a certain position, you are going to get one or two unhappy. That’s when the manager is very important by still keeping them hungry and when they do get that chance, they make sure they are ready.”
Griffiths must see this as a challenge, not an insult
You can see why Griffiths may be a tad frustrated at the Klimala deal. With everything he’s achieved at Parkhead, you would expect the manager to have faith in your abilities.
However, Neil Lennon has already shown that he has just that by denying that Griff will go out on loan (Sunday Post). If he believed that Leigh had no part to play, he wouldn’t have come out with that.
But Lenny also can’t simply ignore Griffiths’ lack of influence in recent times. He has to continue to keep the squad as strong as possible, and Neil was right to go out and buy Klimala in order to do that. It’s no slight on what Griffiths can provide when he’s on his game.
It’s now vital that Griffiths takes this signing the right way. We’re not getting further into the Twitter nonsense. That doesn’t mean a thing regarding his future. So long as Griffiths does as Hartson says and tries to step things up then it’s going to be the best thing for all parties.
Indeed, if Griff feels he can add more than Klimala, he needs to step up and show it. There’s no other way to impress the manager other than that. Nobody at Celtic is entitled to anything without having to work for it, Lennon has proved that already.
Griffiths’ reaction to this Klimala deal could be just as exciting as the transfer itself if he reacts in the right way. However, failure to do so and you struggle to see a way back for him here.