10 Dec Griffiths waits his turn
Leigh Griffiths will have to wait and see if he retains the shirt after his scoring return for Celtic in the 4-1 win at Partick Thistle, according to boss Brendan Rodgers.
Injury, illness and the great form of Moussa Dembele mean Griffiths has played second fiddle for most of the season but he was given his first start since November 5 at Firhill and had a huge influence on the match.
The Scotland striker, who scored 40 goals last season under previous boss Ronny Deila, set up Stuart Armstrong for his first goal before the break with a cross.
He played a free-kick to Armstrong to curl in his second just after half-time and a minute later fired in Celtic’s third, his 10th of the season.
Jags defender Liam Lindsay reduced the deficit with a header just after the hour mark but Hoops substitute Callum McGregor restored the cushion for the relentless champions, who moved 11 points clear and still have two games in hand over second-placed Rangers.
Celtic face Hamilton on Tuesday but Rodgers was making no promises about team selection when asked if he was of a mind to give Griffiths a run of games.
He said: “I am not really worried. I am of a mind to win the game, whether it is Leigh or whoever.
“I have nothing in my contract that says I have to play Leigh Griffiths. I will play always the team I think can win the game.
“I respect what Leigh did last season but I wasn’t here last season so this is a new team with a new cycle of work, a different way of working, a different manager and all the players understand that and that’s why they respect the team that plays.”
Rodgers again praised Armstrong after another fine performance from the former Dundee United midfielder, who has been the Hoops’ most improved player this season.
“He is at a real high level,” said the former Liverpool boss.
“For the first goal he had desire to get into the box and if you played him at right-back like I did he will still look like he will score.
“He has an in-built brain for the goal. The second one was a wonderful strike and his pass for the fourth goal was sublime, a read dead-weight pass for Emilio Izaguirre to pull it back for Callum to finish.
“It is not only his all-round performance, he is pressing the game really well, him and Scott Brown and Tom Rogic and the others are working well together but Stuart is on a real high level.”
Jags boss Alan Archibald was naturally disappointed with the defeat and admits the two quick goals after the break made it doubly difficult for his side.
He said: “I thought the effort was good for 30 minutes but I didn’t think we threatened them enough in the final third.
“I thought it was a lack of belief and we lost goals at key times in the match. I don’t think you can do that against a team like Celtic.”