Leigh Griffiths believes his best form in a Celtic jersey is still ahead of him after finding what he hopes will be a permanent solution to his disruptive injury problems.
The striker returned to action for the Scottish champions as a late substitute in last Saturday’s 3-0 win over Ross County, having been sidelined for two months with his latest calf and hamstring issues.
But a visit to a specialist has reassured Griffiths he can get his prolific Celtic career back on track and even improve on the performance levels which have seen him score 97 goals in his four years with the club so far.
“I’m hoping the best is yet to come,” said the 27-year-old who is in contention for a place in Brendan Rodgers’ starting line-up for tonight’s Premiership fixture against Dundee at Celtic Park.
“The specialist identified straight away during my assessment where the problem was coming from and how we can rectify that and move forward. Hopefully we won’t have another problem again.
“It is all to do with my hips. My hips were so blocked up, the muscle tissue there, that my calves and my hamstrings were doing double the workload. I wasn’t getting the full range of my movement. That is why my calves were going on either side.
“It wasn’t just one specific area, both sides were going at different times. Hopefully now that has been released and the muscles are flowing again I will be back sharper with a lot more movement in my legs.
“It is very straightforward when you get to the root of the problem. You have to continue that work and make sure the muscle doesn’t get blocked as much.
“The most frustrating thing was that I was feeling good, playing well, scoring goals and helping the team get three points and then suddenly - bang - the calves go and I am out for three or four weeks at a time. Obviously, it was a bit longer this time. But I am hoping that is it done now and I can move forward.
“With the muscle being released now and unblocked it is going to give me a lot more movement in my legs. Hopefully working with the manager and fitness staff means that come pre-season I will be flying and back to my best.
“I have trained fully for the last two and half weeks now and am fully fit. The manager said I have been looking sharp. He just told me to go on the pitch on Saturday, get some minutes under my belt and show everybody that you’re still here and what you can do.
“The reception I got from the fans when I came on was incredible. Just being back on the pitch was great. I have put this injury behind me now and hopefully I can be a big part of the run-in to the end of this season.”
With potentially nine games remaining in the campaign for Celtic, should they reach the Scottish Cup final to stay on course for another domestic treble, Griffiths should have sufficient chances to hit the century mark of goals for the club before the summer.
“If I get a good run in the team, if I get a good few minutes under my belt, I will hit that before the end of the season,” he added.
“Hopefully I have earned my place either in the starting eleven or on the bench against Dundee and can contribute. It is an exciting part of the season to be involved in again. The Scottish Cup semi-final (against Rangers on 15 April) is going to be massive for us. But we need to win our next two league games before that to put us in good stead for the league title.
“We are under no illusions that the next two games, against Dundee and Hamilton who are both fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table, are going to be tough. We have to approach them properly.”