Griffiths' new reduced Celtic deal hints at Postecoglou and his powers of persuasion

By Euan Davidson

July 2, 2021

Earlier today, the Sun reported that Leigh Griffiths’ new deal at Celtic, driven by Ange Postecoglou, is on reduced terms.

At surface level, that might seem fair enough. Griffiths was hardly himself in 20-21. In the two seasons prior, in fact, Griff hasn’t been the goalscoring dynamo we’ve known him to be. Through a combination of off the field problems, injuries and the form of strikers ahead of him.

So, by those measures, reduced terms sound good. In fact, there’ll be some that argue Griffiths is very lucky to have got a contract from Celtic in the first place. However, to me, there’s a bigger story here.

For all intents and purposes, it looked very much like Griffiths was out the door. His lack of fitness, his public quarrels with Neil Lennon and not being selected for Scotland pointed to him being past his best. Of not being to the standard that Celtic require.

And, with Postecoglou’s high-intensity style being in place at the club, the chances of a Griffiths renaissance looked even less likely. Yet, the manager has seen something in him. And, perhaps as importantly, Griffiths sees something in the new boss.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

Postecoglou can chalk this one down to good man management

We get the sense that Big Ange isn’t going to chase players to commit when their heart isn’t into it. That seems obvious, and for a season as important as this for club and manager, there’s no room for passengers.

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But Griffiths looked beyond done with Celtic. For him to have signed a new deal, whatever your opinion, is quite the salvage job. Griff, an active social media user, had removed all mentions of the club from his pages. Nowadays, quite sadly, that’s a big deal.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

It’s too early to tell whether Postecoglou could have this impact with other “want-away” players. Namely, Kris Ajer and Odsonne Edouard. Edouard, for his part, has now trained under Postecoglou at Lennoxtown. Presumably, they’ll have caught up for a chat.

It’s also a very good sign in terms of attracting big targets. Just as Brendan Rodgers brought Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele to Celtic, Postecoglou’s passion and clear communicative style could be really attractive to players we mightn’t have got before. By this, I mean the likes of Aaron Mooy.

See also Osaze Urhoghide, who praised his new manager upon joining the club [Celtic FC]:

“I spoke to the manager. He has a good vision for the club and the club is in a rebuilding stage. I see his passion and his work with young players and I feel he can help me develop into a better player

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Postecoglou at Celtic. Today’s evidence shows that fans are buzzing to see his team in action. And while the Griffiths news won’t have gone down well with everybody, to me it’s a good sign.

If someone who looked as categorically out the door as Griffiths can be coaxed back, and sounding hungry to get going, then it’s surely a positive. We wonder who’ll be next to embrace the Age of Ange.

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