Neil Lennon welcomes back ‘happy’ Leigh Griffiths to Celtic
Neil Lennon welcomes back a”Joyful” Leigh Griffiths into the Celtic squad for the Trip Livingston on Saturday.
The Hoops striker has been out since a 3-1 victory over Hearts in August due to personal issues which were followed by injuries and a virus.
But, Griffiths scored a brace to reservations against Stenhousemuir in a favorable at Lennoxtown earlier in the week which was enough proof of rehabilitation for the Parkhead manager who has had French ahead Odsonne Edouard.
“He is going to be concerned with the squad,” said Lennon. “Slowly but surely. He had an hour on Tuesday, he seemed good so he will be in and around it.
“He is great, he’s happy. Boost his conditioning and he needs to remain there today. It’s bit by little but we’ve seen to believe he might make a contribution.
“We’ve got 11 games between now and the end of December and we will be using the team and Leigh obviously is a part of the.”
Scotland Griffiths could make a material difference to the national side, who found on Friday that they’ll face Israel in the Nations League semi-final play-off at Hampden Park in March is also believed by lennon.
The Northern Irishman said:”In case fit, no question.
“When he’s ready and when he is in the groove he will be a true advantage for Scotland, there’s little doubt about that.”
Lennon knows the clamour for fittings to be postponed before Scotland’s crucial play-off which provides the opportunity for Steve Clarke’s side to perform away Serbia or Norway at the final, with the winners going into the European Championship next summer.
“It is going to be tricky to accomplish this,” said Lennon, who had been”screaming at the telly, it turned into a genuine heart-in-mouth minute” when he watched James Forrest go down wounded in Scotland’s 3-1 triumph over Kazakhstan in Hampden Park on Tuesday night, even prior to the Hoops winger recovered.
“I really don’t know how you change the fixture list and there may be things in front of you which you can not foresee, although ultimately everyone in Scotland would like to observe the federal team progress.
“However, I believe it is a great opportunity now.
“It is a good draw. Scotland completed the campaign.
“Obviously we’re discussing just another two or three months later on, things could change.
“There is a structure now with Steve’s staff, he knows his staff and then you are likely to have the likes of [Kieran] Tierney, [Scott] McTominay and [Andrew] Robertson in the Premier League to come into that group also.”
Lennon noted that team leaders Celtic have won all seven games by Livingston in West Lothian a month.
He said:”The reaction with that defeat was superb. The football we’ve played, the outcome we have had, the caliber of performance and levels of intent that is genuine has been outstanding.
“I want to pick up as quickly as we can. We haven’t scored against them in three games so that must be altered so we are extremely motivated to win the match with what’s before us.”
Whilst attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi is outside for seven to 10 days with a foot injury defender Hatem Abd Elhamed is out for another couple of weeks using a hefty abductor strain.
Meanwhile, UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body has fined Celtic 15,000 euro (Number 12,777) to get an illicit banner and illegal chants in the Europa League match against Lazio at Parkhead last month.