Leigh Griffiths could get a big opportunity as back up to Odsonne Edouard vs Cluj

By John McGinley

September 29, 2019

After a big return this summer, it’s fair to say that Leigh Griffiths has found it difficult to push on at Celtic and secure a regular first-team place.

Odsonne Edouard is the club’s obvious number one striker. In recent matches, Neil Lennon has increasingly turned to Vakoun Bayo, who is apparently now installed as the regular back-up choice.

Griffiths hasn’t had any minutes in a Hoops shirt in seven matches, a run stretching back more than a month when he came off the bench against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership.

However, an opportunity has now presented itself ahead of a huge match.

What’s Griffiths’ current status?

The 29-year-old is apparently struggling with his match fitness, despite having a strong pre-season. With the intensity of training and games increasing, the striker isn’t quite keeping up.

He missed the game at the weekend completely, with Lennon stating that was due to “a bit of a virus”. That’s good news in the sense that he shouldn’t be unavailable for future matches, if all is well.

Lennon had previously noted he was expected to be back from a thigh issue that had kept him out of previous matches.

Hopefully with all that behind him, he can return to training this week.

He may be needed.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Suspension for Bayo, strong options needed

Celtic play Cluj in the UEFA Europa League this week and as we know, it could be a tight encounter that requires a strong attacking performance. The Romanians have scored four goals at Celtic Park already this season.

Unfortunately Lennon’s attacking options have taken a hit after Bayo’s unfortunate red card against Lyon. It wasn’t deserved, but it does mean the 22-year-old is suspended for this Thursday’s match.

That means Griffiths is likely to be the striking back-up for Edouard on the bench.

As Lennon demonstrated at Easter Road, he is not afraid to change up his attacking personnel if the game is deadlocked. Edouard was taken off midway through the second half for Bayo.

If the Frenchman is having an off night, or Lennon needs a different style up front, the Scotland international could well find himself getting some action this Thursday, if he’s fit and available.

His chance of getting more in the future depends on him making a good impression.