By Dominic Toner

Former Scotland-U21 coach Billy Stark claims that Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths can be a major player for the club if he knuckles down.

Stark, who handed Griffiths his seniorScotland debut when he was caretaker boss, believes that the 27-year-old has all the attributes to be the club’s talisman.

The striker was the star player for the Bhoys last season as he scored 40 goals in all competitions, but has found it difficult to dislodge team-mate Moussa Dembele this term.

Griffith has also had a run in with manager Brendan Rodgers, who recently publicly shamed his attitude and professionalism.

He will now hope to get back in the manager’s good books as he edges closer to a return from injury.

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Stark believes that Griffiths still has the potential to be a crucial player with the Scottish giants if he can apply himself in the correct way.

“To me, Leigh doesn’t have the physicality of Moussa but he is every bit as natural and cool a finisher as the lad,” Stark said, as quoted by the Evening Times. “He is also excellent in the air – you see him hang in there waiting to connect with the ball – and I do think that he still has that potential to be a major player for Celtic, just as he was last season.

“But it is quite clear to everyone that he has to knuckle down and train the way he plays.”

Griffiths has been absent recently with a calf injury and Dembele has scored two hat-tricks during that time.

Dembele, 20, has already scored 27 goals in 41 appearances for the Bhoys and is regarded as one of the most exciting young talents in Europe.

Meanwhile, Griffiths has had to make do with a part-role and has been unable to emulate his goalscoring form from last season.

The forward has still managed 13 goals in 26 appearances and has chipped in with a further eight assists.

In other Celtic news, Fraser Forster has revealed what was unacceptable at the club.

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