NEIL LENNON insists Leigh Griffiths is “not up to speed” as the Celtic boss explained the continued absence from his matchday squad.
There had been reports the 29-year-old striker was poised to make a return in yesterday’s Premiership meeting with Motherwell at Parkhead.
However, there was no sign of the Scotland international during the 2-0 victory that kept the eight-in-a-row champions at the summit of the top flight.
Griffiths, who missed a chunk of the previous season due to “personal issues”, has not figured since making a substitutes’ appearance in the 3-1 win over Hearts in Glasgow in August.
He claimed a mere six goals last time out and has netted only two this time out – a trademark free-kick in the 5-0 Champions League qualifier against Nomme Kalju and a sweeping low left-foot effort in the 7-0 Flag Day triumph over St Johnstone.
Griffiths has been hit by a virus and a thigh strain as he attempts to win his way back into the manager’s plans with the Hoops struggling for back-up for Odsonne Edouard with Vakoun Issouf Bayo also sidelined through injury.
Lennon provided an update on the frontman’s fitness and issued a challenge to the man he bought from Wolves for £1million during his first reign in charge in January 2014.
He told Celtic TV: “We’re hoping to give him two good weeks of work, then he has a developmental game next week – see how he comes through that.
“We want him up to speed, he’s not up to speed, not at the level that we want him at, he’s got to do the work in the next two weeks.”