Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hoping to see a first-team return for striker Leigh Griffiths before the end of the season, as reported by The Scottish Sun.
Griffiths hasn’t played for the club since a 5-1 win against Kilmarnock on 8th December last year, taking a hiatus from football to deal with off the field personal problems.
Fans have been supportive of the player and patient in the time since but everyone is eager to see him back playing and happy in the Hoops.
Lennon reckons he could be nearing a return, revealing he met with the player last week.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, the Celtic boss said:
We met on Monday. I don’t want to talk about private things, but he’s obviously itching to get back and I’m optimistic about seeing him back before the end of the season.
He looked okay and in reasonable condition. He’s got a bit of work to do to catch up with the rest, but that’s what we’re hoping will happen over the coming weeks.
It’s down to him now. It will take a bit of time, but hopefully we’ll see him back before the end of the season.
If we can get him fit and firing, we’ve got a top-quality centre-forward.
Part of his recovery is that he does it step by step. But he’s doing that, so hopefully we can get him back doing what he’s good at as quickly as possible.
Those are certainly encouraging words and hopefully Griffiths can get to a place where football can be a real focus for him again.
Being the first striker since John Hartson to score 100 goals for the club, the prolific forward can still play a crucial role in this first-team squad, even if he’ll likely be under extra scrutiny when he does pull on the shirt again.
First and foremost though it’s about his personal health and clearly Lennon is in no rush to include him if he doesn’t think he is ready.
Will he be banging in the goals again before long? I’d like to think so.