LEIGH GRIFFITHS can be “very pleased” with his display in the 2-0 loss to Cluj in the largely meaningless final Europa League Group E outing in Romania last night.
The 29-year-old striker played the entire 90 minutes for the first time in five months and drew praise from manager Neil Lennon.
It was clear right from the kick-off Griffiths was eager to get involved and make up for lost time after a season-and-a-half that have been wrecked by injury, viruses and personal issues.
Lennon made it clear for the match there was no pressure on the Scotland international who scored only six goals last term and has contributed a mere three in this campaign, his worst return since making the breakthrough at Livingston 13 years ago.
The hitman, who lasted started a first-team match in the Betfred League Cup opening tie against Dunfermline in August, looked fit as he was forced to feed on scraps throughout the evening in Transylvania.
Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I thought Griffiths did very well. I didn’t think we got enough decent service to him at times. We were a little bit overpassing it in the final third.
“When we did get a good ball in he managed to get a header in.
“I thought his touch was good, I thought his work-rate was good.
“And I think that 90 minutes will stand him in good stead because he’s an asset, there’s no question of that.
“He can be very pleased.
“He’ll be disappointed he didn’t get more chances. But then it wasn’t about that on this occasion, it was about him getting through the 90 minutes injury-free and setting him up now for these run of games.”
Griffiths’ former team Hibs visit Parkhead on Sunday in the first of five vital Premiership encounters before the winter break.