By Noel Whelan

2nd Feb, 2020 | 7:00pm

Whelan Exclusive: Celtic player barely seen pre-Xmas has huge role in 9-in-a-row bid

Noel Whelan believes that Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths could be the “key to their success” this season as they aim for a ninth consecutive league title.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Aberdeen forward claimed that the 29-year-old still has more to offer at Parkhead, and could become a real asset for the Hoops.

Griffiths now has three goals in four games since the Bhoys returned from the midseason break in Scotland, and being on the fringes in the first half of the campaign when he only started one SPL match.

The Scottish international did miss a spell for Neil Lennon’s men towards the end of last season due to personal issues, but now that he’s back, Whelan believes he can be an integral performer in Glasgow.

“I still think there’s more to come from Leigh Griffiths, I really do,” he told Football Insider

“I don’t think we’ve seen the old Leigh Griffiths at Celtic this season yet. I still think he’s getting back to his best, but three in four shows that he’s going the right way and in the right direction.

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“He’s coming good at a good time. Neil Lennon’s going to want his players to be alive and ready and full of confidence, and you don’t get any better than when it’s a striker because they win you football matches.

“I think Leigh Griffiths is a fantastic player – always was a good goalscorer. Great movement, good bit of pace he could be inventive as well and find that space himself inside the box.

“Leigh Griffiths could really be the key to their success.”

Griffiths joined Celtic in 2014 from English side Wolves for a fee of around £1.1 million.

Since then he has played 225 games for the Hoops in all competitions, registering 110 goals and 47 assists during that spell.

In other Celtic news, Jackie McNamara tips ‘Excellent’ Bhoys fringe player for rare start v Hamilton.