CELTIC boss Brendan Rodgers has backed Leigh Griffiths to have a huge future at the Hoops – if he develops a Champions League player’s mindset.
After the 5-2 win over St Johnstone yesterday, the Irishman took the opportunity to explain his reasoning for publicly criticising last season’s 40-goal man for his lack of professionalism away from the football field.
There has been speculation that Griffiths’ time at Celtic was coming to an end after Rodgers challenged the player to work harder in training and look after himself more in terms of nutrition.
However, the Hoops gaffer has emphasised he remains committed to developing the Scotland international over the coming years.
Rodgers said: “Leigh is very much apart of what we’re hoping to achieve here over the coming years. This was just the point I’ve made to him since I’ve come in.
“I think I find that with a lot of Scottish players, the fact you can improve. Just because you’ve been given a talent, if you want to get to the best level you can, it’s about more than talent.
“Self-improvement is what you should be aiming to do.
“Leigh’s a very important part of what I’m looking to do and will continue to be.
“He’s a brilliant striker, but he has to be fit and available – and to be fit you have to look after every part of your life.
“This is not slight on his enthusiasm. He’s a great boy and we have a great relationship.
“I answered when asked the question of him going forward. It’s very simple. He needs to develop that mentality.
“This is his life as a professional player. You can’t just settle for what you’ve got. Be the very best you can be. Nutrition in modern sport is very important.
“He’s clearly a talent. But if we’re going to be a Champions League club consistently then you need a Champions League mindset.