Michael Stewart delivers Celtic striker verdict; claims he's benefitted from uncertainty

By Euan Davidson

July 3, 2021

Michael Stewart believes that Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths was in the right place at the right time to secure a new deal.

The striker, who turns 31 in 21-22, had been talked about in the past tense, regarding his time at Celtic. After constructive talks with new boss Ange Postecoglou, his situation sounded more positive. On Wednesday morning, however, he’d deleted all mention of Celtic from his social media.

But, just hours later that day, Celtic had announced a new contract [Celtic FC]. A one year deal, on reduced terms, it’s another chance for a striker who’s had plenty, but can still offer something. Certainly, that’s the opinion of Michael Stewart. The pundit, and former Hibs and Manchester United man wrote in his Sun column:

“Griffiths is lucky in the sense that his deal indicates where Celtic are right now. Put simply, they are chasing their tail — and he has benefitted by getting this final chance.

“The opening Champions League qualifier is just over two weeks away and new boss Ange Postecoglou has a huge rebuilding job on his hands.

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“They have a guy who is a proven goalscorer — but has had his share of fitness troubles over the last few years.

“Had Celtic been better organised and had a structure in place for this summer, Griffiths could have found himself out the door. Instead, it’s a deal that suits both parties.”

Michael Stewart is right – it’s low-risk, but a more prepared Celtic might’ve looked elsewhere

The reaction to Griffiths’ renewal has been mixed, to put it charitably. While many supporters feel that if Ange Postecoglou is keen, then we ought not to question it, there are still a sizeable contingent who are less enthused. After all; it was Griffiths who didn’t turn up for pre-season in good shape last term.

Frustrating: Leigh Griffiths / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

For me, though, it’s just a decision to boost numbers. It doesn’t mean a whole lot in the grander scheme of things. If Griffiths plays well and gets himself into form, then we all benefit. That not being the case means he leaves next summer.

Stewart added [Sun]:

“In theory, the length of the contract should also help get the best out of Griffiths.

“He has just 12 months to prove he deserves to be a Celtic player for years to come.”

It’s hard to disagree. It’s an audition of sorts. And while other, possibly equally talented players haven’t been given as many chances as Griffiths, there’s a duty of care, there. Foremost, if Postecoglou has spoken to him and believes in his attitude, then it isn’t anything to give us sleepless nights.

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