Leigh Griffiths must find the desire to hit peak fitness and fight for a place in the Celtic team, says his former Scotland team-mate Shaun Maloney.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon told reporters after Celtic’s 1-1 draw with Nice he was “not happy” with Griffiths for returning to training out of shape.
With the striker left out of the French tour and Patryk Klimala scoring in Lyon, Griffiths now faces a challenge.
“Leigh has to find the motivation to fight for a spot,” said Maloney.
“If they play one striker, Odsonne [Edouard] is at such a high level.
“But last season they changed to 3-5-2 and Leigh was scoring goals and assisting.
“He has to want to be that striker they go to with Odsonne. The motivation has to be there.
“Klimala scored last night. He came in in January and he’s worked incredibly hard during the break. It’s another person’s opportunity. That’s what happens in team sports and at that size of club. Things don’t wait.”
Maloney, who had nine years with Celtic either side of an 18-month spell at Aston Villa, now assists Roberto Martinez in coaching the Belgium national team.
He feels only those at Celtic will know the whole story of Griffiths’ absence.
“It’s not a good situation but I’m sure there’s more to it than what we know,” said the 37-year-old.
“It can be quite difficult when we’re on the outside. Leigh obviously had a tough time and he came back really strongly towards the end of last season.
“You read the quotes and you can see how disappointed his manager is. Nowadays with the apps and the programmes they know exactly what the players are doing during lockdown.
“The players all have to do the same amount of work so that would be the biggest disappointment if a team-mate is doing less than you.
“The ball is in his court so hopefully he comes back in a better condition. He’s got time to rectify it.”