Leigh Griffiths exists in curious Celtic-Dundee half-way house as Jason Cummings returns to squad

James McPake is aware freed Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has other options but as well as including him in the squad to face Livingston tonight, the Dundee manager has revealed he will – fitness permitting – be in his plans for Saturday’s Scottish Cup trip to Dumbarton.

Dundee's Leigh Griffiths (L) and Jason Cummings before a cinch Premiership match against Hibs at Easter Road. Both of their futures are on the agenda (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Dundee's Leigh Griffiths (L) and Jason Cummings before a cinch Premiership match against Hibs at Easter Road. Both of their futures are on the agenda (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

An appearance there would mean Griffiths is only able to play for Dundee in the competition which would restrict his options if the Dens Park club cannot agree a deal with the striker. McPake will leave it up to the player himself to decide if he wants to declare himself available or not.

Griffiths is now existing in a curious half-way house. Weekend newspapers reported he had been released by Celtic but, officially anyway, he remains on loan at Dundee. McPake admits there is still ongoing dialogue with Celtic “about a couple of things”.

Sign up to our Football newsletter

Dundee had hoped to secure Osaze Urhoghide on loan until the end of the season but the former Sheffield Wednesday defender also has options in England.

As for Griffiths, he is training as normal for Dundee. McPake praised the application shown by both Griffiths and Jason Cummings, who has been told he is free to find another club. Cummings is hopeful of joining Australian side Central Coast Mariners.

Cummings could join Griffiths on the bench when Dundee resume their league season at Livingston. The Dens Park club have also recalled three players who had been out on loan at League One clubs. Fin Robertson and Josh Mulligan have returned from Peterhead, Declan McDaid from Falkirk.

But where Griffiths’ future lies continues to dominate the agenda. “He trained today and is in the squad for tomorrow. And he will be in the squad on Saturday if he gets through tomorrow without injury,” said McPake.

“He will certainly be here tomorrow,” he added, when questioned further on the club’s intentions with regards the striker, who has struck twice in 14 appearances in this latest spell at Dundee. “He is an experienced player. He has had talk about his future before. Nine times out of ten with Griff he does his talking on the pitch. That is what we are looking for him to do tomorrow night.

“Hopefully that left foot is working and going back to one of his old clubs he can affect the game and that gains a positive outcome for the team he is playing for, which is Dundee.”

McPake expects other clubs to be interested in acquiring Griffiths. Although Celtic have still to officially confirm they have severed ties with the player, the striker is still free to speak to other clubs.

McPake even threw open the possibility that Cummings can still play a part for Dundee before departing for a new career – and possibly life – on the other side of the world. “Unless something changes, he is in the squad,” he said.

“To be fair to Jason he has trained great. That’s not easy when your head might be turned, same with Griff. If your head is turned and there is a lot going on in the background what you find is they come into training and the game itself is a bit of a release.

“That is what I have seen with them in the past week or so with all the speculation. They are on the training pitch and both of them have been great.”

Don't miss out on a 30 per cent discount on an annual sports subscription. We have a special offer throughout January where you can get a reduced package. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions/sports for more details


Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.