Whatever is going on with Leigh Griffiths and Neil Lennon, this is without a doubt the most serious crisis the player has faced in his years at our club. This year he’s 31. His contract is up soon.
An enforced absence from the team, and Leigh Griffiths might never play for us again.
These should be the peak years of his career, but you already worry they’re going to be wasted.
Griffiths will do a job for us if he’s in the team.
That’s been true of every year he’s been at the club.
We might have had better footballers in the strike force – Dembele and Edouard are vastly better at the technical side of the game – but I cannot think of a better goal-scorer.
The guy is a phenomenon, and he’s been written off so often this site has nicknamed him Lazarus.
But Lazarus only came back once and the old wisdom says that even a cat only has nine lives.
Leigh Griffiths has survived more crises than Neil Lennon; the ultimate irony of Lennon’s current survival is that this might be the one that Griffiths doesn’t get past.
His goal record at Celtic is extraordinary.
So too are the problems he’s brought with him.
Had he kept himself fit and tuned in and disciplined, had he followed the advice of three separate managers now he’d have played many, many, many more times and might be closing in on 200 goals instead of hovering around 120. Indeed, I think he’d not only have been a certainty to reach that incredible milestone, he might be there already.
He and Lennon seem to have come, at last, to a genuine parting of the ways. Griffiths was specifically singled out for criticism after the St Mirren game, in which he was substituted at half time. There’s a lot of talk about a major flare up between the two of them … but that doesn’t have to be true for there to be serious problems with this pair.
A change of manager might alter the trajectory for Griffiths, as with other players at the club, but the greater question is whether we’d want it to? Has Griffiths become a liability, a player who should have been moved on ages ago?
It’s ridiculous to write Griffiths off. Time and experience have taught us never to do that.
But this crisis feels different. With him passing 30, with his contract running down and with the club in transition, it seems a lot like this could be it, the long-delayed parting of the ways.
What a dreadful way for it to end if it is.
Leigh Griffiths has been at Celtic during a period of incredible success and if this is his last hurrah it should end on a note of triumph instead of this bitter controversy.
Like so much else that has happened in this campaign, it’s shocking that it’s come to this … but I’d be lying if I didn’t also admit that there has been a certain inevitability about it too.