Date: 26th December 2020 at 9:09pm
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Well, how do you leave him out now?

How does Neil Lennon justify leaving Leigh Griffiths out of this Celtic team when he has more than justified his inclusion?

A week ago the manager must have thought that he could afford to do without him; it’s amazing how things change.

A goal in the cup final, one in midweek and another today have changed things completely.

Even as recently as the press conference in midweek the manager was scorning the idea that Griffiths might start more games.

A goal in the match that followed was a wake-up call.

Today simply puts the seal on it. One of the great football comebacks is almost complete.

If he plays this coming midweek, I expect him to score again.

If he does and he’s not in the Ibrox starting eleven, then all Hell will be paid if Celtic do not win the game.

Neil Lennon has little choice in the matter as long as Leigh keeps on scoring goals. There are players who get opportunities and don’t seize them; Griffiths always takes his, which is why it’s galling when he starts and few and then gets dropped.

I think most Celtic fans would see him in the team ahead of even Edouard right now. That’s as big a compliment as you can pay him, and he deserves it because his performances have been stellar and he’s back where he belongs; on the scoring charts.

Lennon was speaking at that press conference last week about how he felt Griffiths still had lots of work today. Just a day later Leigh answered with him a goal. How do you respond to that? Lennon at least did it right by selecting him again today … and he got the reward for doing so.

For the first time in a while it seems that this machine is working correctly.

Leigh Griffiths is one of Celtic’s greatest ever strikers. He’s proved it by getting onto the 100 goals list. He actually has 121 after today which means he could yet hit 150 in the next year or so. You would not bet against that, and although the milestone after that seems impossibly high who would put money on Griffiths coming up short there as well? He is contracted to us until 2022, and that means we have at least two more years of him to come.

When he signed his last deal, in 2018, he was quite open about how much he wanted to stay at Celtic for the rest of his career.

“From the moment I walked in the door here, this is where I wanted to be for the rest of my life … Celtic is a great club and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I had the opportunity to move but I wanted to stay and fight for my place.”

He has been fighting for it ever since.

But it increasingly looks as if it’s a fight he’s destined to win.

Against the odds, yes, but I get the feeling he wouldn’t have it any other way.

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