Leigh Griffiths’ game-time in recent weeks has picked up, but it’s fair to say he hasn’t had that breakthrough outing just yet.
Griff has now made seven appearances since coming back from a long-term injury that had seen him out of action since August (Transfermarkt). That injury also came just months after he returned from a sabbatical from football that was down to personal reasons.
Therefore, over the last 12 months, Griffiths has only made four starts. So it wouldn’t be wise to expect him to return razor-sharp after effectively missing nearly a year of football.
Yes, he has made 15 appearances overall this season. However, in 10 of those matches he’s played under 25 minutes (Transfermarkt).
In recent games against Hearts, Hibernian, and Cluj, Griffiths has been snatching at his half-chances. There’s a desperation there to get a goal, and even though he’s consistently coming on from the bench, that first strike is proving elusive for him.
Injuries have been cruel to Griff
Granted, he has already netted three times this season, but none since returning from his three-month absence.
It’s easy in a title-race like this to simply dismiss Griff and look for a better alternative. But it’s important to remember just who this man is. He’s a player who managed 40 goals for us back in the 2015-16 season. A player who is an international goalscorer and has bagged goals in both the Champions League and Europa League respectively.
We all know what Griffiths is capable of. Yes, it’s taking a bit longer than normal to get him fully up to speed. Even so, we have to remember he’s only played a total of 187 minutes since his return. Whilst that reads like a lot, it’s only two full matches worth of game-time. If Griff was on a two-game barren run, nobody would bat an eyelid.
Against Hearts he got into a decent area and was unfortunate not to have a pop at goal when through on Joel Pereira. Against Hibs, meanwhile, he snatched at an opportunity after showing good movement to get away from his man.
The football-brain and the creativity is there. Griffiths’ final touch will soon come, and when it does, it’s going to be bad news for the rest of the Premiership.
However, that will only happen if everyone at the club, including us as supporters, continues to stand by him.