LEIGH GRIFFITHS scored his tenth goal of the season in his rare start in the 4-1 Premiership win over Partick Thistle at Firhill last night.
But Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers insisted his strike and overall performance will NOT put him under any pressure to pick the Scotland international striker who claimed 40 goals last season.
It was Griffiths’ first start since he scored in the 3-0 home win over Inverness Caley Thistle on November 5 as he has spent time on the subs’ bench with the emergence of 17-goal Moussa Dembele who played the last 15 minutes against the Jags after replacing Patrick Roberts.
The former Hibs star also set up Stuart Armstrong for the breakthrough goal in the first-half and picked out the midfielder with a smart free-kick for the second.
Asked if Griffiths would kick off against Hamilton at Parkhead on Tuesday night, Rodgers answered: “I’m not really worried. I’ve a mind to win the game, whether it’s Leigh or whoever or whatever the team I choose to play,
“I’ve nothing in my contract that says I have to play Leigh Griffiths.
“I’ll always play the team I think can win the game. I respect what Leigh did last season, but I wasn’t here last season.
“This is a new team with a new cycle of work, a different way of working, a different manager and all the players understand that and that’s why they respect the team that plays.”
Rodgers, though, praised Armstrong who has come to the fore in recent weeks.
The Hoops gaffer said: “Stuart is at a really high level. For the first goal, his desire to get in the box – he’ll always have that. If I played him at right-back, he’d have that. He’s got that in-built brain for the goal.
“The second one was a wonderful strike, the power he generated. Their keeper will maybe look at it, but he’s finished it really well.
“His pass for the fourth goal was sublime, dead weight for Emilio Izaguirre to set it up for Callum McGregor.
“Stuart’s all-round performance, his pressing of the game – along with Scott Brown and Tom Rogic – was of a high level.”
Meanwhile, James Forrest is not expected to be sidelined for too long. The winger pulled up against Manchester City with a hamstring strain on Tuesday and will miss the next few weeks.
Rodgers added: “I think it’s a minor grade one, it’s nothing too serious so probably maximum a couple of weeks.”
Gary Mackay-Steven made his first start of the campaign in Forrest’s absence and played almost an hour at Firhill before being replaced by Ryan Christie.