Noel Whelan insists that Leigh Griffiths is “very lucky” that he is still in the plans of Neil Lennon at Celtic after returning to pre-season out of shape.

The former Aberdeen and Leeds forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, suggests the striker and manager have held “clear the air” talks at Parkhead.

As quoted by the Daily Record after the friendly win over Hibernian on Monday, Lennon confirmed that, in terms of conditioning, it is the best he has seen the 29-year-old for a long time.

The former Wolves man was left out of the club’s pre-season trip to France and publicly chastised by Lennon for returning to training overweight.

However, Whelan believes Griffiths can consider himself fortunate to still be in the reckoning at Parkhead.

Whelan told Football Insider: “Leigh Griffiths is very lucky to have a manager like Neil Lennon. Sometimes when you lose that trust in a manager, it’s usually your final call at a club.

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“The fact that he’s out looking for another striker suggested that he’d has his day but he’s obviously turned things around, I’m sure the manager and Leigh Griffiths have had a one-to-one, had a chat to clear the air.

“He’s obviously gone back and working harder than he ever has before. You can never have enough good strikers at a club, if he’s worked hard and he’s cleared the air, he has to go and earn the trust and respect back of Neil Lennon.” 

Griffiths scored nine goals in just 21 Premiership appearances last season, although only 11 of those outings came among the starting XI.

He has netted a total of 115 times for the Hoops to date.

In other Celtic news, Alex Bruce has been left fretting after a “nightmare” injury update.

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