Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has been told by boss Neil Lennon he ‘needs to get fitter’ – but has fired a subtle dig back at his boss, claiming he needs to ‘play games to become match fit’, say the BBC.
Griffiths scored what should have been the winner in yesterday’s enthralling Scottish Cup win over Hearts, scoring the third goal on the stroke of half-time in extra-time. However, a Josh Ginnelly goal took the game to penalties before Conor Hazard’s heroics secured the quadruple-treble for the Bhoys’.
The Edinburgh-born talisman, who has acted as Celtic’s goalscoring reprieve in the games he has played, is vying for a EURO 2020 spot after Scotland qualified for a major tournament for the first time in 22 years last month, but with boss Lennon telling him he still can improve on his fitness, Griffiths has challenged him to play him more in fear that he won’t make Steve Clarke’s 23-man squad.
“There is a difference between being fit and match fit”, Griffiths claimed. “And you need to play games to get match fit and, the more minutes I get, the fitter I will be.”
‘Griff’, as he is affectionately known, kept a cool head in the shootout on Sunday too, having coolly slotted his penalty past former Hoops’ keeper Craig Gordon. And he hopes that his impact will give Lennon serious thoughts about starting him, given the poor form of Albian Ajeti and Odsonne Edouard at the moment.
“It is about working hard in training and trying to make an impact when you can, if you can come off the bench. Hopefully I have done that and given the manager a wee bit of a headache going forward”.
“He said after the game that I need to get fitter. Well, that green stuff, the pitch, I need to be on that to get match fit.”
There is no doubting how important Griffiths is to Celtic when they need him the most – Sunday’s cup final pays testament to that. And if Lennon is seriously looking to get fans on his side, then there is no better place to look than starting fan favourite Griffiths – who is very well deserving of a place in the current Scotland side.