No room for sentiment over Leigh Griffiths' bid for year-option at Celtic, says John Kennedy

Time might be running out on Leigh Griffiths earning a one-year contract extension to keep him at Celtic next season, the club’s interim manager John Kennedy has hinted.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths is struggling to do enough to activate a one-year contract option following 122 goals in six-and-a-bit years at the club. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths is struggling to do enough to activate a one-year contract option following 122 goals in six-and-a-bit years at the club. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

The 30-year-old being freed following a goal-laden six-and-a-half years is now a real possibility owing to the fact the four-year deal he signed in September 2018 had only three guaranteed seasons. The forward - who has completed only eight full 90 minutes in the past three seasons - has started only once and hasn’t scored in the past two months. Kennedy has suggested chances to push his case for being retained could remain limited in the closing weeks of the campaign.

“It’s very short-term for me and that means it’s about the next game against Livingston [on Saturday] and I can’t be overly sentimental either because I need to make the right decisions for the team,” the Celtic interim manager said. “If we’re going to win at Ibrox next week and have a Scottish Cup run then it’s also about the rhythm and consistency of the team so I never make any promises to individual players – not even Scott Brown or Callum McGregor.

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“All we’ll do is be fair in terms of how they perform at training and in matches. If there’s an opportunity for Leigh along the way then perfect. He [missed a few against Falkirk last weekend] but he always gets himself into goalscoring positions, which has been a trait of his. He’s probably a wee bit rusty because he has been restricted in his game time but his attitude has been great. He’s been training regularly, which is good, so we have to keep working with him and see what materialises.

“[The option] is something the club often do. If players sign a three-year contract then a lot of the time there is an option year at the end of that. Now Leigh is in a situation where that’s the case. But that’ll be a discussion between Leigh and the club as time develops until the end of the season. It’s a very private matter until a decision is made. Leigh is being calm, he’s trained well, and there are no issues there. He is focusing on his football and will deal with the next step when the time is right.”

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