Leigh Griffiths is still injured. That’s what we’re hearing.
But what kind of place in the team does he have when he is fit? If we’re playing two up front it is a place on the bench.
If we’re going with one forward he may not even get that right now.
Griffiths has never been further off the pace, not since the day and hour he signed. He is fourth choice at the moment, as Lennon gets tough and as the club starts to go through the squad one player at a time and asks “what is his value to the team as a whole?”
He still has value.
But Leigh has turned 30 today, and that’s a milestone for any player but in particular for him.
Because I think he’ll get a chance to prove himself in this coming campaign, and I expect that he’ll score a few and prove he has something to offer … but I also think that if I’m wrong, and he blows it, that it’ll be the last one he gets.
Griffiths cannot say that he hasn’t been warned.
Deila, Rodgers and Lennon have all put him on notice about his general lifestyle outside of the game. I wrote earlier about how impressed I’ve always been by Kieran Tierney’s attitude to the sport; that attitude is why he’s gotten so far, so fast, and why he will continue to improve as a player and an athlete.
Remember the picture of Scott Brown, propped up against a pub wall, eating a kebab? That’s nearly unthinkable now, and the change in his attitude is why, at 35, he’s still one of the lynchpins of our midfield. That full-spectrum dedication to the craft makes the difference.
Deila was the guy who first, decisively, tried to transform the culture and he was met with resistance from some, but managed, nevertheless, to instil a new discipline and understanding in others. Rodgers had more command of a dressing room, and could insist that players toed the line.
His changes were dramatic, and final. Our club has never looked back.
Both of these men pointed out Leigh’s shortcomings.
Deila told him repeatedly that his off-field behaviour was going to cost him years of his career. Rodgers, exasperated, finally did the same, and now Lennon has too. None doubts his abilities as a player; indeed, all three framed their comments amidst concern that Leigh wasn’t doing himself any favours.
There are rumours that we’re trying to sign a winger/striker from Turkey; I don’t know if there’s anything in these stories at all. It’s hard to believe we’re in the market for any forward at the moment with four at the club, but any such move would spell disaster for Leigh as it would, presumably, push him even further down the pecking order.
I doubt that will happen; four strikers is enough for us, and I don’t think we’ll go for another one.
But that there’s constant chatter about this does put Leigh under additional pressure.
All three of our fit strikers are big money players, and presumably Edouard and Ajeti are the first and second picks. Klimala has clearly been positioned as their backup.
But you underestimate Leigh Griffiths at your peril. This is why I think he’ll get one more chance, and I expect that he will seize it the way he has done at every stage in his career so far, in spite of the naysayers who’ve confidently predicted his departure.
Griffiths in his last contract with the club, that much is almost certain.
But I do believe he will write the last page of his story.
Whether it’s a successful end or a tragic one is entirely in his own hands. He has the talent … but talent isn’t enough.
He has to get his act together.
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