Noel Whelan has claimed there “could be a bit of a scrap” between Patryk Klimala and Leigh Griffiths for the role of second striker at Celtic.
The former Leeds United and Aberdeen forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said that Griffiths, who turns 30 this month, has fallen down the pecking order at Parkhead.
The Scottish striker came under criticism from his manager Neil Lennon last month after he reported back for preseason out of shape and unfit.
Griffiths, who scored 11 goals in the 2019/20 campaign, was not in the squad to face Hamilton last weekend but Lennon insisted it was due to an ankle injury.
In his absence Odsonne Edouard grabbed a hat-trick and second half substitute Klimala opened his account for the season with a late strike.
When asked by Football Insider if Klimala has surpassed Griffiths in the pecking order at Parkhead, Whelan said:
“Leigh Griffiths had an excellent season last year when called upon. He is one of those players that is a natural goalscorer. He has the ability but now there is competition there.
“He did not help himself coming back overweight. I think it has put him down the pecking order now and there could be a bit of a scrap on for the strikers.
“You need competition for places at big clubs and Celtic are a big club. They are in lots of competitions so they need strength in depth.”
When speaking on Griffiths absence after the 5-1 win, Lennon said: “Griffiths would’ve been in the squad, but he rolled his ankle yesterday.
“He’s going to do a little bit of rehab over the next couple of days, but he should be okay for next weekend.”
In other Celtic news, Arsenal have been tipped to sign Edouard this summer as new deal agreement grows close.