Celtic boss Neil Lennon still has faith in striker Leigh Griffiths, despite the fact the player wasn’t in the squad for the Betfred Cup Final on Sunday.
Lennon is set to involve Griffiths in the Europa League game against Cluj on Thursday, and he believes the attacker can have a positive impact on the game.
That’s despite some pundits such as Kris Boyd harshly claiming earlier this month that the player has just weeks to save his Hoops career.
As quoted by Sky Sports (01/12 live Celtic coverage, 11:48), Boyd said: “You look back at yourself and think you have done a bit more in training some days? Maybe you could have. Leigh Griffiths right now is at that crossroads in his career.
“For me, he has got four weeks to save his Celtic career. If he doesn’t show Neil Lennon inside these four weeks, they will go and recruit a striker in January and for me, it will be over for Griffiths.”
Lennon though has praised his player, certainly refuting the suggestion his attitude or efforts aren’t at the levels expected.
“Go out there and be free”
“Leigh’s attitude has been excellent. He has been begging for the opportunity, so he’s got one now. We know what he can do, he just has to go out there and be free in what he does” he said, as reported by the Daily Record.
Lennon then addressed Griffiths’ future in the club, claiming that being left out of the Betfred Cup squad has no bearing on his future with the club. It doesn’t sound as if he is on the verge of being axed.
“We are certainly not writing him off. None of those soundbites are coming from anyone inside the club.”
Perhaps the most important comment from Lennon is about not writing the player off. He knows how good Griffiths can be when he is on his game. That is why he is giving the player a chance against Cluj.
With the lack of strikers in Celtic’s squad Griffiths does have a chance to stake his claim for a regular start for the Hoops if he performs well in Romania.
Was always going to take a while to get up to speed
It was always going to take him a while to get up to speed this season, after he missed the second-half of last season’s campaign with off-field issues.
However, he must be a bit disappointed not to have started a game for the Hoops since August. That looks like it is going to change against Cluj on Thursday though.
Griffiths will be eager to find the back of the net in the game, and hopefully he does not try to hard. If he can play his normal game, he could help the Hoops to their fifth Europa League win in a row.