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Sir Kenny Dalglish: Celtic star Leigh will know better than anyone if he’s not fit enough or not showing enough during training

© Alan Harvey / SNS GroupCeltic's Leigh Griffiths
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths

I’ll be interested to see how the Leigh Griffiths situation unfolds at Celtic over the final days of the transfer window.

On paper, it looks as though he may have slipped down the pecking order after the arrival of Patryk Klimala for £3.5 million from Jagiellonia Bialystok.

The early indications are that the Poland Under-21 striker has quite a bit about him, and there is genuine optimism about what he will help Celtic achieve in the next six months and beyond.

By all accounts, Klimala will push Odsonne Edouard, and is regarded as an able deputy for the talented French striker.

That’s exactly what the Hoops needed in this window as they attempt to hold off Rangers to win nine-in-a-row.

But it must also leave Griffiths concerned about what the future holds for him.

He was given time off by the club after it emerged he was suffering from mental health problems. That was 15 or 16 months ago, back when Brendan Rodgers was in charge.

Everyone at the football club vowed to support Leigh in every way possible, and they seem to have been true to their word.

The player has fought back to get involved again in Celtic’s first team.

And his goal against Partick Thistle last night – his first since August – won’t have done him any harm.

I imagine his appearances this season are not as many as he would have liked.

Leigh will know better than anyone if that lack of involvement is down to him not being fit enough and not showing enough day-to-day on the training field, or if it’s down to the fact that Edouard has been just too good to dislodge.

But a definitive decision does need to be made for the good of the player, the manager and the club.

It’s reached that stage, I feel, even if he is still contracted to the Parkhead club until 2022.

If Neil Lennon feels that Leigh has it in him to be a major part of his squad for the remainder of this campaign, then I’m sure he will keep the player.

Simple as that.

Celtic have many important games coming up domestically and in Europe, and a fit, hungry Leigh will be an asset at various times – even if he is third-choice striker.

However, if the manager thinks that the squad and the football club will be best served having Leigh away – whether it’s on loan or a permanent move – then he will ask the hierarchy to try their best to make it happen over the next 12 days.

A fit and on-form Leigh Griffiths is as good as any Scottish striker around at the moment.

But we have just not seen enough evidence of that in the past 18 months.

And the thing is, managers target players – and chief executives sign off the loan/transfer fees and wage cheques – based on what a player can do in the here and now, not the brilliance they showed in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Leigh may feel he is best to move on to get regular football, and a fresh environment could be the best thing for his career.

There is also the international set-up to think about, and we all know there are places up for grabs in the striker department for the play-off game against Israel at the end of March.

But Steve Clarke won’t select Leigh, or any other player, out of the goodness of his heart. He will only pick players who are on form and ready.

It’s not a time to gamble.

There is far too much at stake and we need a squad ready to win against Israel, and then defeat Norway or Serbia to take us to the 2020 Euro Finals.

Steve’s outlook is one that every manager will share, at club and international level.

Every gaffer right now will need players able to do him a turn, whether they are going for a title, top six, trying to avoid relegation or win a Cup.

They will not carry passengers.

I hope that Leigh is ready to go and play football somewhere for the rest of this season. If that happens to be at Celtic, then I’m sure the lad will be delighted.

If it needs to be elsewhere, then so be it. The most important thing is that he is healthy and enjoying life.

Pulling on the boots, getting regular game time and scoring goals is the best remedy possible.

I hope 2020 signals the start of his comeback and there are plenty of good times ahead for him.

If he can recapture his form and goalscoring habits, then he will be an asset for any football club in Scotland and the national team.

Leigh needs to stay positive and upbeat about what he can do in the next few months. He is only 29, and he may well have five or six years left in him at a very high level.

He has been a very good servant to Celtic, and Neil buying him for around £1 million from Wolves six years ago has been money well spent.

Indeed, he has been a bargain buy.

As Leigh assesses his own situation, as I’m sure he has done in the past few days, he should remember that the greatest contributor to what you can achieve in life is yourself.

Others can help, offer guidance and a little bit of luck here and there is always most welcome.

But it’s about what you do.