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Celtic boss Neil Lennon opens Leigh Griffiths Scotland door as he gives Euro 2020 boost to Steve Clarke

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Celtic boss Neil Lennon believes Leigh Griffiths is now ready to shine for Scotland again.

The Hoops gaffer has given national team boss Steve Clarke a massive Euro 2020 boost by opening the door for the striker’s return.

Back in November, when Griffiths returned to the Parkhead line-up, the Scotland boss left him out on the advice of Lennon.

But Clarke will now have the front-man available for the critical Hampden play-off semi-final in March, if fit.

And Lennon insists that if Griff plays for his country again it will actually benefit him at club level.

Griffiths has bagged four goals in six games for Celtic since coming back from their winter break in Dubai.


And when asked about whether he can now be influential for Scotland again, Lennon said: “If the stays at the level he’s at, yes.

“But it won’t be my decision, that will be down to Steve.

“Leigh’s just got to continue in the same vein, keep his consistency and form going for Celtic.

“Would Scotland games help his progress? Well, the more he plays, the better he’ll get. Especially if he stays injury-free, that’s important for him.”

Lennon has been delighted with Griffiths’ impact since linking up with Odsonne Edouard as a strike pair.

He praised the striker’s determination to get back to his best but says there’s still more to come.

Leigh Griffiths of Scotland walks out to look around the stadium

He said: “He worked really hard in Dubai and that has benefited him a lot.

“I don’t think he’s the finished article in terms of where he can still get to. But he’s getting goals and he’s improving all the time.

“It was always there. He’s a natural goalscorer and intelligent striker – you never lose that.

“I’ve always liked him and his goal record here is fantastic. He just needed a bit of time to get up to a certain level of fitness.

“I think he can get fitter but he’s playing very well right now.”

Another player pleasing his manager is Celtic midfielder Callum McGregor.

Lennon has compared him to former Hoops star Paul Lambert for his level of quality and consistency.

But as he contemplates giving him a rest at Clyde in the Scottish Cup on Sunday, he admits there has to be a limit to the amount of 60-plus-game campaigns McGregor can excel in.


He said: “I’d compare Callum to Lambert because of his reliability. And he’s now adding goals to his game.

“Whatever you ask him to do tactically, he understands straight away. He’s so important for us.

“He’s a little bit under-rated because other people here seem to hog the headlines.

“But I know his position very well and I know how well he plays it.

“With the amount of games he’s had to play, his fitness levels have improved immensely in the last couple of years.

“He’s a great example to any young player on how to look after yourself away from football.


“But there must be a limit to the amount of seasons he can go on like that.

“Right now, he’s still young enough to be able to do it. But there will be times when he might have to come off it a little bit and recover.

“He’s only missed one game for us this season when we left him out of a European game in Estonia.

“And going forward, with so many big games coming up it will be difficult because he’s so important for us.”

Lennon’s side will look to keep their winning run going at Broadwood and take another step towards their fourth straight domestic Treble.

He’s in awe of the hunger shown by his squad – and says it reminds him of the Martin O’Neill team he played in 20 years ago.

The Celtic gaffer said: “Some people are born with that winning mentality while others develop it over time.

“When you get a taste of it, you always want more. That’s where these players are at the minute.

“They know what’s at stake, they know the incentives and it’s good that we have players who have been over the course before.

“I get the same vibe off them that I felt from the team I was involved in here. It’s a different generation, we were all in our 30’s.

“This is a younger group but they’re still hungry for it.”




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