That time when Leigh Griffiths popped up in the media, blamed the support for the way the season had panned out and suggested that he’s due a testimonial really did demonstrate his lack of self awareness in a season when his self-inflicted lack of fitness has made him little more than a passenger in what was all set-up – a decade on the making – to be Celtic’s biggest season since 1966-67.
At the weekend Griffiths was preferred to Patryk Klimala as the Celtic substitute brought on as John Kennedy’s side chased a late winner against theRangers, yet there was nothing doing there but we’ve been able to read about and see photos of his bespoke boots, featuring various cartoon characters worn as a tribute to his kids.
Griffiths has scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 win over St Mirren at the start of March 2020 – Celtic’s last game of last season due to the pandemic enforced lockdown. But rather than keep himself in fit, Griffiths turned up for pre-season overweight and out of condition and he’s never been near to returning to the levels where he left off a year ago.
Now Charlie Nicholas, writing in his weekly column in Daily Express, tells us that he’s been sitting there wondering if it is all over for Griffiths at Celtic.
“Leigh Griffiths’ time at Celtic must be up now,” Nicholas states. “His team was drawing against (the)Rangers on Sunday and in need of a goal, yet he was only sent on in the 88th minute. “What does that tell you?” Well, one thing it tells us Charlie is that Celtic’s use of the additional substitutes this season has been bizarre in the extreme. For instance Gerrard and his staff were well aware that their players had had a tough Europa League match on Thursday night, losing 2-0 to Sparta Prague at Ibrox, so used their available substitutions to ensure that they were replacing tired legs and would not lose a late goal due to fatigue.
Contrast that with Celtic’s ‘lucky dip’ approach to substitutions.
“Griffiths must be embarrassed. Things have gone into meltdown for the 30-year-old in the last three months,” the former Sky Sports Pundit continued. “When it was a big game and Griffiths was on the bench, you always thought he could come on and score a free-kick or a long shot from nowhere.
“The fact he only got a handful of minutes at the weekend doesn’t look good,” he added.
And with Neil Lennon gone and a new manager coming in it’s debatable to say the least that Griffiths is going to be afforded yet another chance. “A new manager could come in and accept Griffiths but I just can’t see it,” Nicholas stated. And with Scotland set to appear in the finals of a major tournament for the first time since the World Cup in France in 1998, the former Celtic, Arsenal and Aberdeen striker can’t get his head round the fact that Griffiths appears to be allowing his chance to be in the Scotland squad pass him by.
“I don’t understand why the striker isn’t doing everything he can to kick Steve Clarke’s door down and make sure he is in the Scotland squad ahead of this summer’s Euros,” Charlie Nicholas stated.