Yet another BBC pundit questions Leigh Griffiths' Celtic future

By David Walton

April 6, 2021

BBC pundit Steven Pressley has become the next to question whether Leigh Griffiths will have a future at Celtic after another season of disappointment.

Griff was looking to build on a promising end to the 2019/20 campaign ahead of our 10-in-a-row season. However, it would prove to be a damp squib as he struggled for both consistency and goals.

Despite managing just under 800 minutes this season in both league and European action this season, he only has six goals to his name. Despite Albian Ajeti and Patryk Klimala’s struggles this term, Griffiths hasn’t been able to seize on the opportunity. A failure to get himself fit for pre-season put him on the back foot early on, and things haven’t changed for him since.

Pat Bonner was first up on BBC Sportsound on Saturday night as he claimed Griffiths was “finished”. Now, the Celtic forward has been warned by Pressley that he needs to up his work-rate, especially if Eddie Howe comes in.

“My one issue”

Speaking on Monday’s Sportsound programme, Elvis said: “The first thing is – I really like Leigh Griffiths as a player. He’s got terrific movement and he’s a player that can score goals and is most effective getting that last touch on a move. He’s a very unique player in that respect.

“But my one issue with him is that he’s had a number of opportunities. I think he let Neil Lennon down immensely this season. He came back from the break in really poor physical condition and that type of professionalism really worries me moving forward. I think for Celtic moving forward there needs to be a real cultural change where professionalism is at the very top of the list.

“That’s why I have my doubts whether Leigh Griffiths will be part of Eddie Howe’s squad moving forward. The one thing going for him is that it’s hard to find true goalscorers. But this is the conundrum for any manager: do you put the culture of the club before results? You have to set an example to other players. But he can be the winner of a game – he could keep a manager in a job.”

Eddie Howe and Leigh Griffiths – how tolerant will the former be?

Howe has never been one to make overly dramatic disciplinary decisions with his playing staff. That’s where he certainly differs from a Roy Keane.

You couldn’t see Keane tolerating Griffiths for a minute if he was the man appointed. But Howe has shown himself to be a lot more patient whilst being firm with his players. He hasn’t shied away from moments where his team have shown poor discipline [Sky Sports]. But poor attitude and a lack of professionalism is another thing entirely.

It’s not something he seemed to come into conflict with too much during his time at Bournemouth. There certainly weren’t any high-profile issues in that sense. If anything did happen, Howe managed to keep it all hush-hush. But he’s known for having a calming influence, and could easily look to tame Griffiths.

Leigh Griffiths has a big 12 months ahead of him (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

A huge year awaits

Leigh is into the most important he’s ever had in his Celtic career. His current contract expires in 12 months’ time and he’s done nothing to deserve a new one. If a new manager comes in, he has to look at it as a fresh start. His sole focus should be on showing the new man how good a goalscorer he is and nothing else.

For Griffiths is incredibly talented at the hardest element of football – putting the ball into the back of the net. He just doesn’t help himself during times when you think he’s back on form. This summer will likely be his last chance to make a mark at Parkhead.

If he comes back to pre-season and manages a carbon copy of last season, he can pack his bags. For now, there’s no reason to believe that Howe, or whoever is appointed, won’t at least have a look at him.

In other news, a report has discussed the latest on Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi.