GRIFFITHS: THE GRIEF

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LEIGH GRIFFITHS was thrown a career lifeline when Ange Postecoglou, who had been appointed Celtic manager on June 10 2021, triggered the 12-month extension on his contract on July 1.

The striker, who was due to turn 31 the following month, looked to be heading for the Parkhead exit after claiming a meagre seven goals in the club’s disastrous season that had seen Neil Lennon depart his dream job on February 23 – only two days after an unacceptable 1-0 loss against relegation-threatened Ross County in Dingwall.

Griffiths’ scoring rate had dropped alarmingly and the once-prolific hitman bagged only 25 strikes in three campaigns as he struggled on the pitch for form and off the field with mental issues.

It was quite a spectacular fall from grace for the one-time Scotland international who had thumped in FORTY goals in Ronny Deila’s second and final season in 2015/16.

GAME FOR A LAUGH…Leigh Griffiths is all smiles after scoring one of his 123 goals for Celtic.

Griffiths rocketed up the charts and became a firm favourite with the Hoops support. It looked as though he could do no wrong as the goals rained into the opposition’s net.

A relieved player said at the time: “I am delighted to extend my time at the club. Celtic is a club I love and want to do all I can to play my part again in bringing success to our supporters.

“I’m looking forward to the season ahead and working with the new gaffer and the rest of the lads. It is an exciting time for the club and I wanted to be part of the club’s future. I’ll be doing everything I can to help us get back to where we all want to be.”

Postecoglou, as reported in CQN, added: “I am really pleased to keep Leigh with us for another season at least.

“I have had very positive conversations with Leigh and he clearly understands my expectations and more importantly the club’s.

“Leigh has already proven himself as one of the top strikers in Scotland and I look forward to working with him so that we can bring success to Celtic Football Club.”

But there was grief around the corner for Griffiths.

EAR WE GO…Leigh Griffiths shuts out the noise.

Just a week after signing the extension, he was sent home from the team’s training base in Wales amid news the player was being investigated by the club and cops over claims he sent a 15-year-old girl inappropriate messages on social media accounts.

He was later cleared, but a section of Celtic fans let him know how they felt when he played in the second-half of the friendly against West Ham at Parkhead.

Griffiths later admitted he had been hurt by the reaction from some supporters, but there was even more bad news when he was told the club were willing to let him go on a season-long loan.

With his recently-signed 12-month contract due to expire at the end of June 2022, the frontman was confronted with the very real prospect of never kicking another ball for the Parkhead club.

And so it proved.

 

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