Leigh Griffiths hasn’t had the easiest of few years in a Celtic shirt.
During the 2018/19 campaign, the striker played just 11 times in the league because of issues surrounding his personal life.
The Scot then returned to the side once Neil Lennon took over from Brendan Rodgers but with Odsonne Edouard such a dominant force in attack, he has always played second fiddle. Last season, he still scored 12 goals but he certainly wasn’t first choice.
Therefore, when Albian Ajeti arrived from West Ham in the summer, he will have been fearful again. Griffiths clearly wasn’t someone Lennon could rely on and after the Swiss scored five goals in his first ten outings, things didn’t look good for the 30-year-old.
Yet, the Celtic stalwart has fought back well and has now scored three in his last five. During that time, he’s also started four games.
His start against Ross County just before Christmas was remarkably his first since March – pre-Covid – so it’s been a welcome return to form.
However, just as he sustains himself in the team again, is the ageing forward now in trouble? Quite possibly.
That’s because Celtic are still in the hunt for a new forward, one of which is young Wigan prodigy Kyle Joseph. Chased by Tottenham and Rangers, as well as the Hoops, he looks a force to be reckoned with despite his minimal experience.
Joseph has netted four times in League One this term, a tally that included a wonderful hat-trick against Burton in his last game.
Speaking about the 19-year-old afterwards, Wigan manager Leam Richardson commented: “Kyle is on top of the world at the moment. The only disappointment for him and for us is that it wasn’t in front of 30,000 people here. He’ll remember that moment for the rest of his life.
“He’s been getting plaudits for a while now and as long as he keeps grounded and keeps working hard through the week like he does, he’ll have a very good career.”
Given his age, it’s encouraging that Joseph gets in such promising areas, but vitally for the teenager if he does come to Scotland, he offers a quality that Griffiths doesn’t – the ability to win headers.
So far this term, Joseph has won 2.3 aerial duels per game compared to just 0.8 from Griffiths. Of course, the latter is an established international footballer, but you only need to look at the way Albian Ajeti quickly jumped ahead of him in the pecking order when he first signed.
It’s possible the same would happen if the £300-per-week Joseph signs. He’s already got first-team football under his belt and he’s got goals to show for it.
If Lennon can fight off the competition to bring him to Parkhead, it would be an impressive capture. Unfortunately for Griffiths, however, it was may just give the Northern Irishman an excuse to axe him once and for all.