Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has been tipped by Rangers legend Barry Ferguson to have a “massive part” to play next season, in conversation with PLZ Soccer.
The Parkhead ace didn’t travel to Loughborough with the team last week, and Neil Lennon also axed him for the Hoops’ pre-season trip to France.
Celtic confirmed on Sunday that Griffiths, who scored 11 goals for the Bhoys last season, will remain at the club’s training base in Lennoxtown to work on his fitness (BBC Sport).
Ferguson reckons that the 29-year-old’s omission from the Loughborough and France trips is a sign that Neil Lennon expects nothing but the highest standards with a 10th consecutive title up for grabs.
However, the Ibrox icon and Kelty Hearts manager is also confident that Griffiths will return to his best and play a big role in 2020-21.
It was a surprise,” Ferguson told PLZ Soccer. “I thought since the turn of the year when Neil Lennon started using the 3-5-2 more often he was getting back to his old self.
“Obviously, with the (global health crisis) hitting, everyone has been shacked up in their houses. Obviously Leigh is not at the level of fitness that Neil Lennon wants and has been told to stay behind.
“It shows that Lenny isn’t mucking about this season. Leigh needs to get fitter, it will be a kick up the backside for him but I still believe he will have a massive part to play next season. When you get him up to scratch, he is a very good player, a very good goal scorer.”
The last few months have been a tough time for everyone and, even though things are slowly returning to normal – or at least a so-called “new normal” – different people will have differing ways and timescales to try and get back up to speed.
Though Griffiths is missing out on the trip to France – during which time Patryk Klimala can perhaps shine and add another string to the Celtic bow – he’ll surely have all the help he needs to get back up to scratch at Lennoxtown and, as Ferguson says, play a big role next term.