This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
There were so many positive aspects for Celtic from last weekend’s 4-0 win over Livingston at Parkhead.
James Forrest continued his excellent scoring form with two more goals taking him to 13 for the season, Jeremie Frimpong gave a tremendous performance which was lauded by many Hoops supporters and Neil Lennon’s team topped up their goal difference nicely as Rangers kept pace with them points-wise at the Premiership summit.
Another plus point from the game was the return of Leigh Griffiths as a 68th-minute substitute for his first appearance in almost three months, as noted by celticfc.net.
The 29-year-old striker has experienced some lofty highs and testing lows since coming to Celtic in January 2014 in a £1m deal from Wolves (as per Daily Mail).
Griffiths made an instant impact upon arriving at Parkhead, scoring seven goals and setting up nine more in just 13 games in the latter part of the 2013/14 season. [via TransferMarkt]
It wasn’t all good news for the striker in his first few months at Celtic, though, as he ended up in court over his singing of a racially sensitive chant about then-Hearts player Rudi Skacel in an Edinburgh pub. [via BBC]
The arrival of Ronny Deila in place of Lennon also worked out unfavourably for Griffiths, who struggled for minutes in the first half of the 2014/15 Premiership season and was publicly admonished by Deila for a perceived lack of fitness amid links of a loan move back to Hibernian. [via The Telegraph]
He altered his manager’s perception by the end of that season, though, with 12 of his 14 league goals being scored from January onward and Deila hailing him as a “24-hour athlete” in commenting on his improved fitness (as per Sky Sports).
It was in the 2015/16 season that Griffiths truly exploded into life. He ended the season with 31 goals in 34 Premiership games and 40 goals in all competitions, the first Celtic player to do so since Henrik Larsson 12 years previously (as per Daily Record), and was named the PFA Scotland Player of the Year.
The following season was not as glorious for the striker, who despite scoring 12 league goals was in and out of Brendan Rodgers’ starting XI due to the magnificent form of Moussa Dembele with 32 goals that season.
Further controversy would stalk Griffiths during 2017/18, having reacted to having a bottle thrown at him in a Champions League qualifier away to Linfield by tying a Celtic scarf around one of the goalposts, an incident which earned him a charge from UEFA.
A few weeks later, he was reported to have wiped the contents of his nose on one of the corner flags at Ibrox during a 2-0 derby win, as per The Scotsman.
Griffiths still struck 13 goals that season despite those controversies and reached 100 goals for Celtic at the start of the following campaign after scoring against Suduva of Lithuania, as per Daily Record.
However, his career was then put on hold last December after Rodgers announced that the striker would be taking time out from football due to personal issues, as per BBC.
Griffiths spoke openly about suffering from depression upon his return to football last summer (as per Herald Scotland) and thankfully has returned to the Celtic first-team fold this season, scoring three goals in the first month of the campaign before being sidelined by a thigh injury.
The 29-year-old has endured plenty of difficult moments during his time with the Hoops but his goal tally of 107 in 212 appearances for the club following last weekend’s action is that of a predatory striker who, for just £1m, has been a fantastic coup for Celtic.
Celtic fans, how good an acquisition has Griffiths proven to be during his time at the club? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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