LEIGH Griffiths has, as the 97 goals he has scored and eight trophies he has lifted in the last four years testify, done none rather well since signing for Celtic from his beloved Hibernian.

But could the striker have achieved more had he not been plagued by persistent problems with his calves and spent extended periods out of the first team during that time?

The 27-year-old, who made his comeback from a two month spell on the sidelines when he came on in the 3-0 win over Ross County at Parkhead on Saturday, is convinced he could have fared even better.

But he is optimistic the specialist he consulted during his latest stint out has finally got to the root of the problem and that even better times lie ahead of him.

“He identified straight away during my assessment where it was coming from and how we can rectify that and move forward,” he said. “Hopefully we won’t have another problem again.

“It is all to do with my hips. My hips were blocked and my calves and hamstrings were doing double the workload. I wasn’t getting the full range of my movement. That is why my calves were going either side. It wasn’t just one specific area, both sides were going at different times.

“Hopefully now that has been released and the muscles are flowing again I will be back sharper with a lot more movement in my legs.

“I am hoping the best is still to come. With the muscle being released now and unblocked it is going to give me a lot more movement in my legs. Hopefully working with manager and fitness staff means that come pre-season I will be flying and back to my best.”

Griffiths, who is hoping to start in the Premiership match against his former club Dundee at Parkhead this evening, admitted the problem had been a source of huge frustration to him despite the success he has enjoyed at Celtic.

“I am feeling good, playing well, scoring goals and helping the team get three points and then suddenly, bang, they go and I am out for three or four weeks at a time,” he said.

“Obviously, it was a bit longer this time. But I am hoping that is it done now and I can move forward. Hopefully I won’t have another problem again.

“I have hopefully got 10 games to go to reach that 100 goal mark. If I get a good run in the team, if I get a good few minutes under my belt I will have not time I will hit that before the end of the season.

“Being fully fit, you don’t want to miss out on games. Hopefully I have earned my place either in the starting XI or on the bench and can come on and contribute. It is an exciting part of the season to be involved. The semi-final is going to be massive for us. We need to win our next two league games before that to put us in good stead for the league title.”

Meanwhile, Griffiths admitted he is hoping that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will allow him to play for Scotland in their end-of-season friendlies against Peru and Mexico due to the fact he has missed two months of the season.

Rodgers looks set to ask the SFA to excuse many of his first team regulars from the summer tour because they will have important Champions League qualifiers to play in the middle of July.

But his centre forward is optimistic that he will get the go-ahead to travel with his national team to South America at the end of May and North America at the beginning of June given the amount of football he has missed during the 2017/18 campaign.

“With the amount of football I have missed this season I don’t think it would be a problem for me to get the extra minutes under my belt,” he said. “That is my aim.

“Obviously they are two difficult games, but they are two exciting games as well. The travelling is a bit of nightmare, but I would be able to come back and still get a decent rest before we start pre-season.

“I have always said whenever I have been called upon for my country that I am delighted to be a part of it. Hopefully at the end of the season if I am called up the manager will let me go.

“I have not spoken to the Scotland manager or my club manager here about it. As the season draws closer to an end hopefully we will sit down and have a chat. Like I say, I have missed a lot of football so I don’t think it will be a problem.

“It doesn’t seem like a long rest that we get. Hopefully, we will get to the Scottish Cup final and win it again. Then we are straight away with the Scotland squad and on a plane. We are looking forward to getting a really good rest, but, like I say, there are two really exciting games to go and play in.”

Griffiths missed the friendlies against Costa Rica at Hampden and Hungary in Budapest that Alex McLeish, who took over from Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager for a second time back in February, took charge of.

However, the 17-times capped centre forward, who became a hero with the Tartan Army with the two free-kicks he scored in the 2-2 draw with England in a Russia 2018 at Hampden back in June, is desperate to be involved going forward.

“You are disappointed to miss out, but being injured is part and parcel of football,” he said. “That can’t be helped at times, but if Mr McLeish got on the phone to me and explained that he was wanting me for the summer friendlies and that I was going to get game time, I’d be delighted to go.”

Griffiths feels he will, despite his goals against England and in the subsequent Russia 2018 qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia, have his work cut getting selected up front for his country in future given how well both Oliver McBurnie and Matt Phillips did in his absence.

“Matt has come in for flak before with his appearances for Scotland, but we know what he can do,” he said. “He’s not a natural No.9 if you like, but he showed he can put himself about and did really well.

“Oli has been flying at Barnsley after some Premier League appearances for Swansea. He’s another striker vying for the jersey.”