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GRIFFITHS: ‘HE MUST GIVE LENNON SOME PAYBACK,’ INSISTS EX-CELTIC ACE

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS made his first Celtic appearance since August when he came on as a 68th-minute substitute for Odsonne Edouard in the 4-0 win over Livingston at Parkhead.

The last time he had been seen, the 29-year-old Scotland international had a 12-minute cameo role as he replaced Ivorian hitman Vakoun Issouf Bayo in the 3-1 victory over Hearts in Glasgow.

Griffiths scored a mere six goals in the previous campaign which was cut short in December due to personal issues. He has collected only three this time out.

Former Celtic winger Davie Provan believes it is time for the player to repay the faith of manager Neil Lennon and the champions for the backing they have continued to give him during his dark times.

Writing in his column in the Scottish Sun on Sunday, the ex-international said: “Leigh Griffiths scored two goals last week in a bounce game against Stenhousemuir. Not quite up there with the two free-kicks he bent around Joe Hart two years ago, but it’s a start.

“And if it means the striker has beaten the demons that have plagued him, good for him.

“Griff is proof that a fat wage packet doesn’t immunise footballers from mental illness. Having battled depression himself, Neil Lennon will know what his player has overcome.

“But let me be brutally honest. Now the striker is fit enough to play, he has to get the finger out.

“Celtic couldn’t have done more to support Griffiths. You can bet he’s had the best medical support money can buy.

“When they could have been tempted to rush him back, they’ve given him breathing space. Now he’s pulling his boots on again, he must give Lennon some payback.”

Provan added: “He can either bust his backside getting back to being the player he was, or throw away what’s left of his career.

“In a sport where nobody escapes the brutality of time, the clock is ticking down on the 29-year-old. Lennon has to hope the striker will wise up.

“A fit Griffiths would be priceless for Celtic heading towards the business end of the season. Right now Celts are a hostage of Odsonne Edouard’s fitness.

“An injury to the young Frenchman will leave Lennon seriously short up front.

“It could come down to how much trust Lennon has in Griffiths. If he believes the player is doing all he can to get back up to speed, he’ll stick with him.

“Anything less will see Neil look elsewhere for a striker in the January window.

“Given his track record, I wouldn’t write Griffiths off, he’s spent his career proving people wrong.”

 

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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