By Dominic Toner

Brendan Rodgers has urged striker Leigh Griffiths to press high up the pitch in order to increase his goal tally.

The striker led the line with huge success in 2015-16, bagging 40 goals and providing eight assists in 51 games in all competitions last season and finishing as the the club’s top scorer by some distance.

The 25-year-old has started the new campaign impressively, scoring twice in three Champions League qualifiers and then scoring a goal in the 3-1 defeat to Spanish league champions Barcelona in Saturday’s pre-season friendly, which Rodgers credits to his high pressing.

“He is really getting fitter and stronger now and we were saying to him to press goalkeepers; that he would get four or five goals a season through that pressure and pressing and he got his rewards for that today. Rodgers told Celtic’s website.

“He was good on the first press and the ball comes across and he was there to finish. He’s a terrific striker, there is no doubt about that. From the short time I’ve worked with him, you can see he has a real natural instinct.

Leicester forward Jamie Vardy ran defenders relentlessly throughout the Premier League season with his constant hard work and pressing, and Rodgers is hoping his talisman can have a similar effect this year.

Griffiths appears to have settled at Celtic after spells at Scottish trio Livingston, Dundee and Hibernian as a youngster, as well as time in England with Championship side Wolves.

Newly-appointed Rodgers had added teenage striker Moussa Dembele to his squad and Griffiths recently told the Scottish Sun that he would operate from a wide role this season.

Celtic begin the defence of their Scottish Championship away at Hearts on 7 August and Griffiths will be aiming to replicate his fine league form from last year.

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