NEIL LENNON is hopeful Leigh Griffiths returning to action before the end of the season.

The Celtic boss revealed it could be a only a matter of WEEKS before the striker is able to play again.

Hoops legend Davie Hay urged Griffiths to return to training at Lennoxtown during the week, as CQN reported.

The Scotland international frontman, 28, has been missing since making a substitute appearance in the 5-1 win over Kilmarnock at Parkhead on December 8.

He was given time off as he battled to overcome personal issues.

Lennon, speaking to the Sunday Mail, admitted: “I met him on Monday. I’m optimistic about seeing him back before the end of the season.

“He looked okay and in reasonable condition. He’s got a bit of work to do to catch up with the rest.

“That’s what we’re hoping will happen over the coming weeks. I don’t want to talk about private things, but he’s obviously itching to get back.

“It’ll take a bit of time, but, hopefully, we’ll see him before the end of the season.

“If you can get him fit and firing, you’ve got a top-quality centre-forward.

“It’s down to him now. Part of his recovery is that he does it step-by-step, but he’s doing it, so, hopefully, we can get him back doing what he’s good at.”

Griffiths scored his 100th Hoops goal with an excellent free-kick in the 3-0 Europa League play-off against FK Suduva in Glasgow on August 30.

It is one of only six strikes the attacker has claimed in an eventful campaign.

He netted his last goal in the 3-0 triumph over Hamilton Accies at Hope Stadium on November 24 with another trademark deadball effort.

Griffiths, who signed a new contract with the club in September that will keep at Parkhead until 2022 at least, has sat out the last TWENTY games.

*DON’T miss the unbeatable match report and best action images from Dundee v Celtic this afternoon – only in your champion CQN.

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