Celtic interim boss Neil Lennon has revealed that a meeting with Leigh Griffiths has convinced him the striker will be ready to play a part in the drive for a triple Treble.
Lennon stated earlier this month that he was unsure whether the Scotland forward would be capable of returning this season after spending more than three months off on indefinite leave to deal with mental health issues.
However, he spoke face-to-face with the 28-year-old earlier this week and is now hopeful that he will be back in action before the end of the current campaign as the Parkhead side aim to complete another clean sweep of domestic trophies.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon is convinced Leigh Griffiths will have a part to play this season
‘I met him on Monday,’ said Lennon. ‘I’m optimistic about seeing him back before the end of the season.
‘He looked okay and looked in reasonable condition. He’s got a bit of work to do to catch up with the rest. That’s what we’re hoping will happen over the coming weeks.
‘I don’t want to talk about private things but he’s obviously itching to get back. It will take a bit of time, but, hopefully, we’ll see him before the end of the season.
‘If you can get him fit and firing, you’ve got a top-quality centre-forward.. It’s down to him now.
‘Part of his recovery is that he does it step-by-step. But he’s doing it, so, hopefully, we can get him back doing what he’s good at as quickly as possible.
‘You have to look at the human side as well sometimes. They are not robots. They all have frailties in their own make-ups.’
Lennon spoke to Griffiths, who has been given time off to deal with mental health issues
Lennon, meanwhile, admits he is comfortable having five top-team players in Scott Bain, Kieran Tierney, Callum McGregor, James Forrest and on-loan Oliver Burke flying off on Scotland’s gruelling Euro 2020 double-header with Kazakhstan and San Marino immediately after Sunday’s league visit to Dundee.
National coach Alex McLeish has already seen the likes of Sheffield Wednesday striker Steven Fletcher stay behind to ‘manage an injury’, while Cardiff City’s Callum Paterson and Ryan Fraser of Bournemouth have agreed to be left out of the Kazakh match because of concerns over the artificial surface in Astana.
Lennon revealed he has no worries about his own players when asked whether he would even consider asking McLeish to leave his men out of certain fixtures.
Kieran Tierney is one of five Celtic players named in the latest Scotland squad
‘Only if the player has a problem with playing on the artificial surface,’ he said. ‘If there’s a red flag there, you might say: “Look, I’m not telling you how to pick your team, but can you keep an eye on him, because he’s not great on this type of surface”.
‘In the main, though, our boys are okay. It’s always the same when they go away. They could get injured at any time. They could get injured playing for us or with their country.
‘The travelling is a little bit of a concern. It’s not exactly your normal European trip, but it is what it is.
‘The modern-day player has everything available to prepare for these trips and these games.’