LEIGH GRIFFITHS is determined to make up for lost time as Celtic face a punishing eight-game schedule between now and the turn of the year.

The striker has not started a match since the 6-0 triumph over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park when team-mate James Forrest hit the headlines with a four-goal salvo in 30 pulverising minutes.

Griffiths was sidelined through injury and illness before replacing Odsonne Edouard in the 74th minute to score a stunning left-footed free-kick for the third goal in the Hoops’ 3-0 success over Hamilton Accies 11 days ago.

As he prepared for tonight’s match against Motherwell at Fir Park, the hitman said: “I’m feeling good. Obviously, coming off the bench against Hamilton, it was a nice feeling to come on and score. The injury has cleared up now and I’m looking to kick on.

“We have a lot of games this month and we’re heading towards the second part of the season. So, if I can stay injury-free and get game-time, then I’ll hopefully be banging in goals for club and country.”

The 28-year-old attacker will fight to reclaim his place in the national side after his decision to drop out to concentrate on his fitness was met with criticism in some quarters.

Griffiths added: “You could say it was brave, but a lot of people didn’t agree with that and I had to take the abuse I got on the chin and do my work in here.

RETURN OF THE LEGEND…Leigh Griffiths hammers home a free-kick in the 3-0 win over Hamilton Accies. Pic: Geo.

“It was unfortunate that I was ill and injured at the same time, but I’ve come back stronger.

“I want to be back in the reckoning, but that all comes from playing well for Celtic, being involved and getting game-time.

“Obviously, you’re delighted that the team’s doing well and focusing on that.

“But, from a personal perspective, you want to be involved and be out on the training pitch having a bit of banter with the lads.

“I’ve said it before, that when the team is doing well, you can’t have any arguments. For the past two-and-a-half months the team have been playing really well.

“The boys who weren’t playing at the start of the season have come in, done the job and won their place in the team – and rightly so.

“Taking your chance when you get it is all you can ever do. When you’re called upon, whether that be from the bench or starting the game, you need to make an impression.”

Griffiths hopes to start the fightback for a regular spot against Stephen Robinson’s Fir Parkers this evening when he hopes to add to the six goals he has claimed during this campaign.

* DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best in action pictures from tonight’s Motherwell v Celtic match – only in your champion CQN.

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