Exclusive: McNamara suggests barely-seen Celtic ace has big part to play after official update

Jackie McNamara has suggested that Leigh Griffiths will have a big part to play for Celtic after returning to the matchday squad for Neil Lennon.

The former Hoops and Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, says that the injury blow to Vakoun Issouf Bayo has piled pressure on Odsonne Edouard and that the Scottish striker will help take some of the weight off his shoulders.

Speaking at his press conference prior to the clash against Livingston, Lennon confirmed that Griffiths would be among the squad as the Hoops look to keep their place at the top of the Premiership table.

McNamara says that with a busy period of fixtures on the immediate horizon, Griffiths’ return to action could not have come at a better time for the Hoops.

Asked if Griffiths could play a big part after his layoff, McNamara told Football Insider: “I hope so, aye. First and foremost for the boy is getting himself back to the level of fitness and playing, that’s when he’s at his best, when he’s out there on the pitch.

“He had a wee bit at the start of the season when he scored a few goals and then he picked up an injury and stuff. That’s frustrating for him but I think it’ll be good for Neil and everybody else.

Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

“Obviously with Bayo picking up an injury, the concern is that you are relying really heavily on Edouard to stay fit at that point. If they can get Griffiths back to fitness and flying, it’s just great news for everybody. You need that competition.” 

Griffiths played eight times for the Bhoys this season before being sidelined with a hamstring injury, netting three goals in total.

Edouard meanwhile has struck 12 times across all competitions, contributing a further 12 assists to the Hoops’ cause.

In other Celtic news, Football Insider can reveal that the club’ hopes of signing a Premier League talent are up in the air after a shock twist.