Leigh Griffiths has returned to training with the Celtic first-team squad, the club last night confirmed.
The Hoops left the Scotland striker at home when they went to France this month to play in the Veolia Trophy after he failed to meet the fitness targets set for him during lockdown.
While they played their tournament games against Nice and Lyon, plus a friendly in the Parc des Princes against Paris Saint-Germain, Griffiths had to stay behind at Lennoxtown to complete a personal catch-up programme.
Manager Neil Lennon was publicly critical of the 29-year-old, stating that he needed to stop his social media “nonsense” because he had come back “out of condition and overweight”.
Near the end of the trip to France, however, he was more positive about the player when ruling out any possibility of him being sent out on loan.
Now, following a fitness assessment, Griffiths has been reintroduced into the squad ahead of the matches against Ross County today and Hibs tomorrow.
He is unlikely, however, to feature in the games themselves.
Both matches are being played behind closed doors at Celtic Park and streamed live to Celtic season ticket holders.
In the longer term, Griffiths’ route to a return looks clear as Vakoun Bayo is injured and Patryk Klimala failed to make much of an impression in France.
Meanwhile Celtic’s keeper target Vasilis Barkas has revealed he hates being a goalkeeper and would rather play as a defender.
He said: “I don’t like playing as a goalkeeper. It’s not fun to play in that position.
“If I had the choice, I would play as a defender or as a midfielder.
“In fact, when I am training with Greece, I play left-back in the practice sessions.
“I actually became a goalkeeper by mistake.
“I went for trials in Kolonos when I was a kid, and the coach put me in goal because he had enough players, even though I was short then.
“The pitch was a dirt surface and had no grass. I came back covered in cuts and bruises.
“But from there I got spotted and went to Atromitos for trials and I continued from there.
“Strikers are paid to score goals and my job is not to concede.
“But when you play at the top level, the feeling you had as a child is lost. You are paid for a purpose.”
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