He has got himself in great condition – Leigh Griffiths earns Neil Lennon praise


Griffiths is set to feature in Monday’s friendly against Hibernian.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has praised the reaction of Leigh Griffiths to his fitness ultimatum and hopes his squad can be further boosted in the transfer market this week.

Griffiths will feature in Monday’s pre-season fixture against Hibernian after Lennon gave 90 minutes to most of his probable season-opener starting XI in a 2-0 friendly win over Ross County.

Only Greg Taylor went off, with an injury which is unlikely to keep him out of Celtic’s first Scottish Premiership clash, against Hamilton next Sunday.

Griffiths stayed behind while Celtic played three games in France after reporting for pre-season training out of shape but the striker is now not far away from where Lennon wants him to be.

Neil Lennon arrives ahead of the pre-season friendly
Neil Lennon arrives ahead of the pre-season friendly (Jeff Holmes/PA)

“Listen, while I gave him a bit of criticism while I was away, I have nothing but praise for him today because he has got himself in great condition,” he said.

“He probably needs a bit of time in terms of his football but in terms of what I have asked him to do and in terms of his conditioning, I am very, very happy with the condition he is in, so he will get some game time tomorrow (Monday).

“It’s a great boost. It’s the minimum requirement now. He’s got himself to a really good level so it’s important he maintains that because he will be an asset for us.”

Celtic have been linked with Peterborough striker Ivan Toney with head of football operations Nick Hammond reportedly negotiating a fee with the Sky Bet League One club.

Lennon also appears to be closing in on a goalkeeper with Scott Bain his only experienced number one.

The Celtic boss said: “I’ve nothing at the minute, no confirmation on anything. Nick is here so I will get a chat with him later on to see where we are with a few things.

“I’m hoping to add to the squad, there’s no question of that. Hopefully this week we’ll see a couple of those come to fruition. (Goalkeeper) possibly, centre-forward possibly, a few other positions possibly. We will see, sometimes these things take a bit of time.”

Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell is expecting Celtic to sign a new keeper with Ross Doohan poised to leave Parkhead for Dingwall on loan.

Ross Doohan saves from team-mate James Forrest
Ross Doohan saves from team-mate James Forrest (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The 22-year-old played against his team-mates as a trialist for County ahead of a new temporary move following two seasons at Ayr.

Kettlewell said: “We know him well, we saw what he did on loan at Ayr. I think he will be on the (Celtic) bench on Monday for the game against Hibs and then we hope we can get something done probably Tuesday and integrate him for the start of the season.

“That will be us, Ross has been top of our list for a period of time. It’s been pending for three or four weeks but we knew we had to get to a stage where Celtic are looking to bring someone else in and that would trigger us getting Ross.”

Celtic's Greg Taylor failed to run off a knock
Celtic’s Greg Taylor failed to run off a knock (Jeff Holmes/PA)

Meanwhile, Lennon played down fears over Taylor’s ankle knock.

“He thinks he should be OK,” Lennon said. “It’s a trauma knock and we are hoping he will be fit to resume training on Wednesday or Thursday. He was a little bit sore but it seems to have settled a little bit.

“It will depend on the swelling over the next couple of days but he should be OK for the weekend.”