In the emotion and euphoria of yesterday, one key concern has actually come out of the contest – Leigh Griffiths’ omission.
When the squad was announced yesterday, it was a big blow not to see Odsonne Edouard starting against Rangers. It was a game where we needed an out-and-out striker to play up top. Instead, with French Eddy not fit to start, it would be down to Griff to lead the line.
Only it wasn’t. Quite incredibly, he wasn’t even in the matchday squad. There has yet to be official word from Neil Lennon on why that’s the case, but it just didn’t make sense at face value.
Celtic had to go with Lewis Morgan, and despite the clear willingness to run for the cause, his influence on the game was non-existent. The former St Mirren youngster was bullied by Filip Helander and Connor Goldson in an unfortunate outing that suggested he may have been out of his depth.
It’s fair to say that fans were also still bemused both during and after our win over Rangers:
Biggest shock for me was Griffiths not even on bench. If not injured this is not a good omen for his future HH
— Celtic Gossip (@CelticGossip) December 8, 2019
The mad thing is Griffiths is sittin in his gaff watchin this muck
— JungleLion (@JungleLion_) December 8, 2019
Gutted Edouard isn’t starting, hopefully wee Morgan surprises a few folk today, the signs aren’t great for Leigh Griffiths if he can’t even make the bench, in Lenny we trust 👍
— Griff (@MildooWolf) December 8, 2019
An alternative solution must be found
Griffiths has managed some cameo appearances in recent weeks against the likes of Livingston, Rennes, Ross County, and Hamilton respectively. It seemed as though he was simply being eased back into the squad. But his run of four straight squad appearances came to an end yesterday.
His absence puts yet another different perspective on where he’s at. Still, despite our need for reliable cover for Edouard, Griffiths still hasn’t managed to string down a constant run in the squad.
Neil will hopefully be able to explain to us in the coming days as to why this is the case. But in the meantime, we need to find an alternative to Morgan.
The winger simply isn’t suited to a false-nine role, and that was proven today. We may get away with it against the lower-ranked sides in the league. Yet it’s fair to say that against the likes of Rangers, Morgan simply isn’t going to cut it in the future.
This could be why Lenny is perhaps keen to bring in another frontman in January (STV). In the meantime though, if faith isn’t going to be put in Griffiths, we need another option. The likes of James Forrest, Ryan Christie, and Scott Sinclair, for example, all have experience of playing up top as a false-nine.
What the Rangers game proved is that this must be the end of the Morgan experiment, at least for high-profile games. More pressingly, Griffiths’ absence must be explained by the Hoops boss too. We all deserve to know why our second-choice striker continues to struggle for consistency.
In a day of extreme highs, this was the only bemusing question mark to come out of it.