Jackie McNamara has claimed the answer to Celtic’s number nine problem may be found internally if Leigh Griffiths can put his personal problems to one side and reignite his career.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the Hoops legend expressed his hope that the Scotland international can start banging in the goals again for the club where he has been so prolific.
The 28-year-old has not played since Celtic announced last December he had been granted special leave for unexplained reasons.
McNamara insisted that the key for Griffiths is to overcome the weight issues that have sometimes affected him and get back to peak fitness.
“Leigh’s a number nine, he’s a goalscorer, which obviously they’ve been looking at,” McNamara told Football Insider. They’ve done really well considering, I don’t think they’ve had a real number nine.
“They signed Bayo in January, he’s been injured and not really had a chance in there yet, I believe he’s a number nine as well. But Leigh, you just hope that Leigh can get back to what he was.
“He’s had a lot of problems off the park but over the number of years watching Leigh, I think his happiest place has been on the pitch, with adulation and scoring goals.
“Off the park his life’s not been fantastic so it’s very important that he’s fit. When he’s not fit and he’s not playing, everything can turn sour for him.”
Griffiths returned to Celtic’s training base in late March but has been unable to get back into the team, and has not been named in a matchday squad since Neil Lennon returned as manager.
The forward has an outstanding record for the Hoops, scoring 104 goals in 203 matches and being a key member of the side that has secured eight consecutive league titles.