LEIGH Griffiths deserves an extended run in the Celtic team, says former Hoops favourite Frank McGarvey.
The 24-year-old forward was given his first Scottish Premiership start since August against Ross County on Saturday but, like the rest of the home side, he endured a frustrating afternoon as the Highlanders held Celtic to a goalless draw.
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Parkhead manager Ronny Deila has preferred to use one main striker this season with John Guidetti his first choice – despite the on-loan Swede from Manchester City now racking up five matches without a goal after previously scoring 11 in ten appearances.
Consequently, Griffiths is now keeping his fingers crossed that he keeps his place against Partick Thistle at Firhill on New Year’s Day.
McGarvey, who played for Celtic between 1980 and 1985, said that Deila must give the former Wolves player a fighting chance in a two-man strike pairing – and also bring back out-of-favour midfielder Kris Commons.
McGarvey said: “You have got to give Griffiths at least a run of five or six games playing with Guidetti. You can’t drop him after one game.
“There is no doubt he is a brilliant finisher, like Guidetti. I know he hasn’t scored for a few games but I like Guidetti’s movement and attitude.
“You need a two-man partnership up front and Deila needs to give those two a run together.
“But you also need players to provide. You need someone to help the forwards.
“When I played up front at Celtic with Charlie Nicholas, we had Davie Provan wide and Tommy Burns and Paul McStay in the middle feeding me and Charlie.
“Kris Commons is the one person at Celtic just now who can slip the ball through to the strikers and he doesn’t get a game.
“You need Commons to make chances for the strikers and also to score himself. So I would have Griffiths and Guidetti as a partnership with Commons behind them.”
Aberdeen moved to within two points of leaders Celtic with a 1-0 win at Inverness on Sunday and McGarvey believes that the Dons are now credible challengers for the Scottish Premiership title.
The former Scotland striker said: “At the start of the season I didn’t think any team was good enough to beat Celtic to the title but I now believe that Aberdeen are a threat.
“Aberdeen are very professional and they showed that with the 1-0 win over Inverness, once again making sure they got the three points.
“Celtic are not a team you can rely on and you have seen that against Ross County.”
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