By Noel Whelan

26th Dec, 2020 | 5:51pm

'Exceptional' - Exclusive: Pundit in awe of Celtic player who's digged at Lennon

Noel Whelan has claimed Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths’ goalscoring displays are making him undroppable.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Aberdeen and Livingston forward insisted the 30-year-old is getting “more confident and stronger” with every game.

Griffiths was introduced as an extra-time substitute in last weekend’s Scottish Cup final and scored the Hoops’ third goal in the 3-3 draw.

His performance earned him his first league start of the season against Ross County on Wednesday and he scored another goal in the Bhoys’ 2-0 win.

The Edinburgh-born striker retained his place against Hamilton Academical on Saturday and scored the second goal in Celtic’s 3-0 win.

After the Cup final, Griffiths appeared to hit out at his manager Neil Lennon about his lack of playing time after Lennon told him he needs to get fitter.

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Asked by Football Insider whether, given his fitness issues, it was a shock to see him start two games in the space of four days, Whelan said: “I would have been very surprised if he wasn’t in the starting XI today.

“You can’t take out a player who’s just scored a goal.

“If he wasn’t fit enough earlier on in the season, it was because he wasn’t getting enough game time.

“It’s very hard to keep your match fitness levels up if you’re not playing week in, week out. 

“We know what an exceptional goalscorer he is. He proved that in midweek with that header – that wasn’t an easy header at all to get it across the other side of the goalkeeper and he took it very well.

“Everyone knows he’s a goalscorer – if you give him more game time he’ll be on the score sheet and he’ll get more confident and stronger as the games go on.”

In other news, Alex McLeish has been left drooling over a “beautiful” Celtic sighting.