Neil Lennon hails Leigh Griffiths impact as Celtic claim last-gasp Saints win

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was happy to see Leigh Griffiths (pictured) back
Celtic manager Neil Lennon was happy to see Leigh Griffiths (pictured) back - (Copyright PA Wire)
15:47pm, Sun 04 Oct 2020
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Neil Lennon was delighted to see Leigh Griffiths return to action with a trademark goal to rescue Celtic at St Johnstone.

The Hoops striker had not played since March due to various fitness issues but he was one of five second-half substitutions made at McDiarmid Park as the champions struggled.

In the final minute of normal time, Griffiths headed in a cross from Hatem Elhamed with fellow substitute Patryk Klimala adding a second in stoppage time for a 2-0 win

Lennon, who described the first half of the Premiership encounter as “all fur coat and no underwear”, said: “I know what I have got with him. I was disappointed with the way he came back (from pre-season) and then he picked up an injury.

“We’ve been patient with him but he knows what I think of him as a player.

“That was Leigh Griffiths in a nutshell.

“Towards the end we started putting real quality into the box early but we were too passive in the first half.

“Leigh was unlucky with the one Ryan Christie put in and Hatem put over a great cross and he buried the header.

“That’s what he does. We don’t take that for granted with him, but that’s a great start to his season.”

Lennon was less enamoured with French striker Odsonne Edouard, who has been linked with a series of clubs during the transfer window including Aston Villa and Arsenal, and who was taken off in the second half.

The Celtic boss said: “I think he has about three or four more gears to come.

“Again, I was disappointed with his performance. He needs to settle down.

“Hopefully after tomorrow he will.

“I can’t speculate but I think it’s apparent it’s been affecting him.

“He’s a brilliant player but we are just not seeing the best of him at the moment.

“Hopefully he’ll calm down once the window shuts and come good for us.”

Asked if West Ham winger Robert Snodgrass could be an option for Celtic before the transfer window closes on Monday, Lennon said: “I’m not talking about any speculation.

“You could throw any number of names at me but we are working on one or two things and hopefully we can accomplish that.”

St Johnstone boss Callum Davidson hopes to sign Israeli striker Guy Melamed.

The 27-year-old is a free agent after departing Maccabi Netanya this summer.

Davidson said: “Guy Melamed is here and hopefully we can get the paperwork done in time. Hopefully he will bring goals.

“I have looked for someone a little bit different, someone who can bring a spark to the team.

“We’re hoping he can come in, form a good partnership with the other players and score goals for us.”

Regarding the match, Davidson said: “It was sore to take because we played to a very high level and I felt we were comfortable.

“Celtic had to bring on five quality subs to win the game, they had to bring on some of their star players.

“I’m disappointed with the goal because we had a set-piece and that’s three goals in the last two games we’ve lost from that.

“But otherwise I was very happy with the performance level, the enthusiasm and the composure of the team.”

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