Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has hinted that Leigh Griffiths has buckled down in his bid to get his fitness right for the fight to compete for his place in the team.
The Irishman last month questioned whether the striker was showing the “total devotion to the life of a footballer” required to reach the peak of his profession as he struggled to shake off an ankle injury.
Griffiths, pictured, will not feature in the Celtic squad for today’s home encounter with Motherwell as he has still has not fully recovered from the problem that has kept him out this year but his efforts to improve his fitness of late have been welcomed by his manager.
“He is still at that sort of conditioning phase as he comes back,” said Rodgers, who will have Stuart Armstrong available again after three weeks sidelined with a hamstring injury.
“It’s just making sure with Leigh. He’s been brilliant in his approach to it. The attitude, everything has been first class.
“We just want to make sure that he doesn’t break again. What he was doing was he was getting injured and we are trying to break this cycle of playing a few games, getting injured and being out for a bit.
“He’s a great player for us. We stick him on the bench, he goes in and he thinks he’s all right, we think he’s all right, then he breaks again. We are trying to make sure we are giving him a period of getting really fit so he can come back, stay fit and really contribute for us.”
While Armstrong is in line to feature against a Motherwell side who were thumped 7-2 by Aberdeen in midweek, Celtic are still without midfielder Tom Rogic. The Australian remains out after having an operation on his ankle.
Rodgers will, of course, also be without Nadir Ciftci. The striker, who came off the bench during last week’s cup rout of Inverness, has since left for a loan spell with Polish side Pogon Szczecin.