LEIGH GRIFFITHS will NOT be leaving Celtic in January.
The Hoops striker has been struggling for game-time since he returned to the squad following seven months out due to personal issues.
But Neil Lennon insists he will not send the 29-year-old Scotland international striker out on loan when the transfer re-opens at the turn of the year.
Instead, the Hoops gaffer will urge the frontman ro battle for a place in his first team alongside Odsonne Edouard and Vakoun Issouf Bayo.
Lennon, speaking to the Daily Record, explained: “Leigh won’t go on loan in January. He’s too good a player. He just needs more time to get up to speed.
“Leigh isn’t fit just now. He’s had a thigh strain and is starting back training. He had a virus that kept him out of the squad for the game against Hibs last week and isn’t fit enough at the minute to figure.
“That’s where we are. He needs to do a bit more cardio work, so he’s not in the squad at the minute because he’s working back from that injury.”
Griffiths has been missing since featuring in the 3-1 victory over Hearts at Parkhead on August 25.
Lennon added: “I speak to him. I don’t whip him or anything, but I just have the odd chat here and there. It’s just to see how he is doing because he’s had a difficult time.
“He did fine when he came back and then it dipped, but that happens, it’s natural. After that, he had the injury and he’s not fit enough to play.
“There is always a chance of players getting niggles, but because Leigh has had that sabbatical, he’s finding it hard to maintain the fitness standards.
“In a few weeks, he will be fit and firing.”
Griffiths was given a massive welcome back by the Celtic support at the start of the season and scored his first goal since netting against Hamilton Accies in November when he swept in a trademark free-kick against Nomme Kalju in July.
He also netted with a whiplash low shot in the 7-0 Premiership opener against St Johnstone.
However, injury kept him out of the squad for the midweek Europa League Group E win over Cluj when Lennon was left with only Edouard as his recognised striker with Bayo banned following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Rennes a fortnight earlier.