LEIGH GRIFFITHS has told the Celtic fans not to panic over the pause in the arrival of Filipe Jota.
The former Hoops striker, who left the club in January after 123 goals and eight years, insists James Forrest will still be the main provider for the team.
Griffiths, 31, who had a loan spell at Dundee at the start of last term and a stint as a free agent at third-tier Falkirk, has every faith in his former colleague continuing to deliver the goods at Parkhead.
Jota, of course, made a massive impact during his season-long loan from Benfica and there has been a clamour among the supporters for the switch to be made permanent – and there is every indication the £6.5million switch WILL be sealed.
CELTIC FOR ME…James Forrest beams happily after agreeing a new contract last month.
In the meantime, the one-time prolific hitman said: “I don’t think the Celtic fans should be panicking over the delay in Jota signing on for next season. James is the main man at the club in the wide areas.
“Jota had a brilliant season and the fans love him – but James has done it season after season and can be the key player again in the coming campaign.
“Everyone knows he’s had his injuries, but I don’t think there’s a player who works as hard behind the scenes as James. He needs to stay injury free, but when you see him in training and in full flow he’s incredible.
“I’m sure boys like Scott Brown and Callum McGregor would back me up when we are asked who is the best player at Celtic.
HAMPDEN HERO…James Forrest is congratulated by Kyogo Furuhashi after netting the Premier Sports League Cup semi-final winner against St Johnstone in November.
“Most of his team-mates will say it’s James Forrest. He does things in training that make you stand back and go: ‘Wow!”.
“I know James well and he’ll be wanting to shut a few people up as he’s been knocked time after time and just come roaring back.”
Griffiths, speaking to the Sunday Mail, continued: “Look at his goal against Livingston last season. It was crucial and it said everything about how intelligent a footballer he is. He has so much skill and can score goals with both feet.
“He’s close to the 100-goal mark for Celtic and that would be a massive landmark for him to get through.
“That’s why he has played under so many managers as they all know exactly what he brings to the team. He has done it all his career.
“I remember playing alongside him for Scotland’s Under-21s over in Holland. James ripped them apart, he was sensational that night and we won 2-1. He has been torturing defenders ever since.”
FANS’ FAVOURITE…Filipe Jota signals to the Celtic support after the 6-0 win over Motherwell on May 14.
Griffiths, currently on the look-out for a new club, added: “I still keep in touch with a lot of the boys. I text Ange whenever Celtic have a big game and he always replies, so that’s a good sign.
“My relationship with the club is good. I still go and watch them as a fan.
“I had eight unbelievable years there and it was so important to me not to leave on bad terms.”