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Sir Kenny Dalglish: After his Euros snub, now Leigh Griffiths has to prove Ange Postecoglou right over new Celtic contract

© SNS GroupLeigh Griffiths was at the heart of the Scotland celebrations in Belgrade last November after qualifying for the Euro Finals. But he was left out of the squad and now faces an uphill battle at Celtic
Leigh Griffiths was at the heart of the Scotland celebrations in Belgrade last November after qualifying for the Euro Finals. But he was left out of the squad and now faces an uphill battle at Celtic

The omission of Leigh Griffiths from Steve Clarke’s Scotland squad for the Euros was the one that caused most headlines.

And they didn’t go away after the men selected managed just the one goal in our three Group D games.

Now Ange Postecoglou has decided to give Leigh the benefit of the doubt by handing him a new one-year contract at Celtic.

I’d imagine it must have been a difficult call for the new Parkhead manager to make, even if the deal is on vastly-reduced terms, and heavily incentive-based.

The ball is very much now in Leigh’s court, and it’s up to him to make the most of this opportunity.

He should probably still be able to claim the main striker role this season, and it shouldn’t be beyond him to be a proper asset to the team and bang in the goals.

His ability to put the ball in the back of the net has never been in doubt.

It’s other stuff that led to his downfall last season, stuff that was well-documented.

I’m sure Ange would have spoken to many people – such as coaches John Kennedy and Gavin Strachan – about Leigh, and watched over lots of video footage before deciding to give the go-ahead to the new contract.

The archives would have been full of Leigh’s goals, and there is no doubt his stats are impressive since he was signed for Celtic eight years ago by Neil Lennon for around £1-million from Wolves.

But, as every player knows, you can’t live on past successes. It’s about the here and now.

© SNS Group
Leigh Griffiths

That will very much be the view of Ange, and Leigh will be under scrutiny at the training camp at Celtic Manor when they head down to Wales tomorrow.

But every member of the squad will also be under the microscope.

Ange is just over a week into the job, and will already have formed a view on a number of players he has watched at close quarters at Lennoxtown.

He will also have watched countless hours of video on certain players, and taken advice from others who have worked more closely with the squad in the past year or two.

There are some that Ange will insist on keeping as he tries to build a successful side.

There will also be a handful that he has still to make up his mind about.

And, inevitably, there will be three or four that will not be for him, and he’ll be happy to see them moved on.

With the start of the new Premiership campaign less than four weeks away – and Champions League qualifiers to be played before then –time is of the essence.

But there also has to be a degree of patience. Making hasty decisions can lead to mistakes – and we all know that for Celtic there is little room for error this season.

Signings have been made, such as the lad from Sheffield Wednesday last week.

Ange sanctioned the move for Osaze Urhoghide, and he is a right-sided defender with potential.

The fans will want to see money being spent, and a household name or two being added to the squad.

But they have to trust in the process, and believe that it is all heading in the right direction behind the scenes.

If Celtic are being a wee bit cautious behind the scenes – checking, double-checking and then triple-checking – before sanctioning a transfer in or out, then I’m comfortable with that.

There is nothing wrong with taking your time. Indeed, it is admirable.

Ange will have his own ideas, and he will also have inherited some suggestions from the scouting and backroom team.

Between them all, they will try their very best to get it right.

© SNS Group
Callum McGregor – seen after scoring Scotland’s only goal at the Euros against Croatia – Ryan Christie and James Forrest have all been given some extra time off after playing in the Finals

Of course, they know that time is not on their side, and the first leg of their Champions tie against FC Midtjylland is on July 20.

I think it is going to be a huge ask for the Hoops to get past the Danish side.

They were drawn in Liverpool’s Champions League group section last season, and I saw they are a more than capable outfit.

To give his team the best possible chance, Ange will want to get to work with Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Ryan Christie.

All three have been at the Euros with Scotland, and have been having some time off.

I’m sure they’ll join the camp at Wales at some stage in the coming week, and the new manager will be absolutely delighted to see them.

He will want all of his best players available to him, and to get them into his way of thinking – of his tactical ideas and preferred formation – as soon as possible.

Sure, there is every chance that Ryan could move on this summer. The same applies to Odsonne Edouard and Kris Ajer.

But as long as they are at his disposal, Ange will use them if he feels they can benefit the side, and help the group win games of football.