THERE is a possibility that the arrival of Patryk Klimala at Celtic may mean that Leigh Griffiths and Vakoun Issouf Bayo – or perhaps both – will look to get out of the club and get some games this month.

Leigh has only played bit-parts here and there since he has come back into the first-team picture at Celtic, and hasn’t been used as much as maybe he would have wanted or the fans may have wanted.

Considering that Odsonne Edouard was crying out for a breather at some stages, that is a little but concerning when it comes to considering what future he has at the club.

In saying that, Neil Lennon may think there is a place for a third striker at least, particularly as nobody yet knows how Klimala will settle in. He is only 21, and sometimes it can take a bit of time for young players especially to get used to a new environment. And Scottish football can take a bit of getting used to as well.

There has been talk about Griffiths going to Hibs or somewhere like that, but I think Neil Lennon may look to keep him around. There are a lot of games still to be played, although whether Leigh would be happy to sit on the bench as much as he has been, only he could tell you.

There are a lot of people doubting him right now, and I know he has been involved in responding to that a little on social media. His best response to those doubters though would be to do what he has done before time and time again when he has faced such doubts, by buckling down in training and then grasping the opportunities when they come.

I can’t talk for what is happening on the training ground, but on the park so far this season, he hasn’t really done that. Albeit, he has had few chances to shine.

It’s been a long time now since Leigh played a full 90 minutes on the domestic front for Celtic. He has played a couple of dead rubbers in Europe, but he hasn’t had a full game in Scotland since a 1-0 home win over Aberdeen in September 2018.

No matter who you are, or how much talent you have, if you miss that much football, there is undoubtedly a chance that you lose your edge and your confidence. The only solution is for Leigh to work all the harder to try and get that back.

When you are getting such limited game-time though, that can be hard to do, and it could be that a loan move would help him regain that confidence and sharpness that he must have lost over the last 15 months or so.

It’s a really difficult one. With Bayo’s injuries and Leigh’s issues, we have all spoken for months about how Celtic were light up front. So, now that Neil Lennon finally has some options and some cover there, it would seem counterproductive to reduce those options voluntarily.

Celtic pay the players’ wages, and sometimes you have to accept that you are part of a squad. I know that Bayo has been keen to go out and get some games, and that may be the more likely option.

As for Leigh Griffiths, if he is to stay at Celtic this season, then he has to take the rare chances that he gets, and one could very well present itself at Firhill tonight.

I expect that Celtic will have a strong side out given that they want to make a statement after what happened in the Rangers game prior to the break, but it seems the ideal opportunity to give Griffiths a start and try to get him a goal or two that would do him the world of good.

I don’t think that Klimala will start having only arrived on Monday. Yes, he has trained with his new teammates a few times already, but he is still just getting to know his new colleagues from both a personal and a footballing point of view, and I think this game will come too soon for him.

He might be on the bench, but I wouldn’t expect him to play against Kilmarnock in midweek either. For me, he will need that bedding-in period first, and it is unfair to expect too much from him too soon.

My gut feeling is that Griffiths will start with Odsonne Edouard on the bench to be called on in an emergency. If Neil Lennon can extend Edouard’s winter break until Wednesday at least, then I think he would love to do that, but he should still be there in reserve should something go wrong in the game at Firhill.

Celtic of course will be strong favourites to win, but it is really important for them to hit the ground running against Thistle. They have to put down something of a marker to tell everyone that the last game hasn’t thrown them off course.

I think Celtic will have too much for Thistle, and they tend to have shown in the past after the rare setbacks they have had that they are able to bounce back quickly. They will want to make a statement, and rack up a few goals too.

There is always a chance in these cup ties after the winter break against lower league opposition that have been playing competitively, that you are caught cold, but I think Celtic will be fresh from the break and it will have benefitted them after a hectic first half of the season.

It seems like the perfect opportunity for Celtic to post notice that they have come back hungrier than ever and that they are ready for what lies ahead in the second half of the season. And on an individual basis, that is what Leigh Griffiths should be trying to do as well.