NEIL LENNON watched three strikers – Odsonne Edouard, Patryk Klimala and Albian Ajeti – fire blanks in the 2-1 victory over St Mirren in Paisley last night.
The French star, who didn’t have the best of outings, even managed to squander a penalty-kick 15 minutes from time that would have brought a third goal and some breathing space on a nervy evening against Jim Goodwin’s side.
Edouard made way 10 minutes from the end to be replaced by fellow-Frenchman Olivier Ntcham while Klimala had already been hooked in the 64th minute to make way for Ajeti, who had claimed three in his previous three games.
It was left to on-loan Republic of Ireland international centre-back Shane Duffy to collect his second strike in two matches and winger James Forrest to get the goals that gave the champions the opportunity of going top of the Premiership on Saturday when they face Livingston at Parkhead.
Leigh Griffiths thumped in a sizzling hat-trick the previous occasion they had played the Saints on the last day of the season when the Hoops won 5-0 on March 7 before the coronavirus pandemic forced the curtain to come down on the campaign.
However, the 30-year-old hitman wasn’t even stripped for action on this occasion with Lennon telling the BBC:“He’s fit, but he’s not in the squad because he’s no trained or played enough football. In terms of the calf strain, it looks like he’s over the worst of that now.”
The Hoops boss, who blasted the Scotland international for returning from lockdown overweight and then axed him from the three-game French tour, now has to make a decision about the player who appears to be his best natural striker at the club.
Klimala struggled to make any impact against the Paisley outfit which will be a concern for Lennon who gave him the nod to start ahead of Swiss international Ajeti.
An outing against Livi, even a cameo appearance, could go a long way to giving Griffiths the confidence to make his presence felt again at the champions.