Neil Lennon is hoping that Celtic striker Vakoun Bayo will return to fitness from a hamstring injury next week, The Glasgow Times reports.

Bayo has been missing from the squad for three friendlies in France and two more at Celtic Park.

The manager confirmed last weekend that the Ivorian forward was struggling with an injury problem.

However, it appears he is closing in on a return to training at Lennoxtown.

The manager, speaking after today’s friendly win over Hibernian, was also full of praise for Leigh Griffiths following public criticism of the 29-year-old earlier this month.

As quoted by The Glasgow Times, Lennon said: “Bayo is out with a hamstring injury but we are hoping he will be fit at some stage next week. But that game will have done both Leigh and Patryk the world of good.

“Leigh was great. He looks great and it’s the best I’ve seen him in a long time, in terms of how he looks in his conditioning. I am delighted with his response in terms of what we’ve asked of him.

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“He just has to maintain it now as he will be a real asset for us – no question.”

With reports this week suggesting that Celtic are on the verge of signing Switzerland attacker Albian Ajeti, Griffith is timing his resurgence well.

Despite today’s substitute appearance he still has a lot of work to do to get back to where he was prior to last season’s curtailment.

Patryk Klimala seems to now be ahead of him in the pecking order and has scored three goals in pre-season.

Griffiths was on Friday media duties

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths / (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Griffiths played alongside Klimala today which was the first time Lennon has utilised a two-striker formation since last term.

With potentially five options to choose from as early as next week, the manager could be spoiled for choice when it comes to forwards, no matter what team shape he goes with.

In other news, goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas is said to be travelling to Scotland this week to sign a four-year Celtic deal.

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