Alan Hutton insists that Leigh Griffiths needs to “knuckle down” if he is to regain his place among the Celtic squad this season.
The former Rangers and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, believes that Albian Ajeti’s goal against Dundee United would have come as a blow for the Scottish hitman.
Griffiths is yet to feature in a matchday squad for the Hoops this season and is currently out of action with a calf injury.
New signing Ajeti managed to snatch all three points against Dundee after he came off the bench to score.
With Odsonne Edouard and Patryk Klimala also ahead of Griffiths in the Parkhead pecking order, Hutton believes the Scottish ace has got a lot of work to do to get back into the reckoning.
Asked if he was starting to worry about Griffiths’ future at Parkhead, Hutton told Football Insider: “Yeah, a little bit. Obviously you know how highly I rate him, I think he’s a top-class player but he really needs to knuckle down.
“He must have been sitting at home thinking: ‘Ugh, they’ve brought Ajeti in and he’s scored (v Dundee United).’ In the nicest of ways, he obviously doesn’t want to see him fail but from his own personal point of view, that’s who he’s up against.
“For him to come in and score, it kind of knocks Griffiths down a little bit. The manager’s thinking the new signing’s come in and done well, so it’s a difficult period for him.
“The only thing he can do now is work doubly as hard, really knuckle down and show the manager he’s ready to fight for his place because on his day he’s probably one of the top strikers in Scotland. He’s going to have to get back to that if he wants to get back in the plans.”
Griffiths has a total of 234 appearances and 115 goals under his belt for the Bhoys to date.
Lennon started Wednesday’s shock defeat to Ferenvaros without a recognised striker on the pitch, with both Ajeti and Klimala left on the bench.
In other Celtic news, Neil Lennon is stepping up his bid for a “marquee signing”.