‘Ship has sailed’: Lennon believes ‘rascal’ Celtic star won't get another chance to play for country
Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon believes Leigh Griffiths might not get another chance to play for Scotland.
Speaking to BBC Scotland’s The Euros Breakfast Show, the ex-Hoops boss claimed that the 30-year-old attacker might have let an opportunity to return to the Scotland set-up pass him by based on his fitness over the past 12 months.
Lennon revealed that Griffiths returned to Celtic last year after the first lockdown in poor condition. The former Wolves striker was largely a substitute player for the Hoops for most of last season, with the attacker scoring just seven goals in 901 minutes across 26 games.
Celtic start Griffiths is ‘a rascal’
Griffiths’ form mirrored that of Celtic’s for most of last season with the Hoops being trounced in the league by Rangers to the title. And for Lennon, the striker might have just missed his chance to play for Scotland again.
The Scottish manager said: “He’s only 30, and he must have been sitting there yesterday going ‘I should be out there’. I think that ship has sailed. I don’t know. He has to get himself in the best condition possible and there’s no excuse not to these days.
“He’s got great fitness coaches, medical staff, nutritionists, all those things. But he’s a rascal. He’s different, but maybe that’s what separates him from the rest. But he didn’t do himself any favours this season that’s for sure.”
Griffiths’ fitness issue would have made him a risk for Euro 2020
There’s no denying that a fully-fit and firing Griffiths would have been a sensational option for Scotland in their first-ever international tournament this century. However, bringing the Celtic star in the condition he is now would have been too risky for Steve Clarke’s side.
Even with an expanded squad of 26 players, the Scotland manager would have been looking for players who were both fit and in form for his squad for Euro 2020. And Griffiths failing to meet the criteria for either category, Clarke made the right decision leaving the striker at home for the summer.