Former Celtic and Liverpool forward Frank McGarvey has urged Leigh Griffiths to sustain his recent form and stake his claim as first-choice striker at Parkhead.

With Odsonne Edouard expected to leave Celtic this summer, McGarvey believes that much of Griffiths’ fate lies in his own hands when it comes to determining his role at the club in the immediate future.

The Scotland internationalist’s path looked uncertain at the turn of the year but his return following the winter break before the coronavirus lockdown put the shackles on his renaissance suggested a creeping return to former levels.

Eight goals came for Griffiths between the end of January and mid-March, form that was his most consistent since the season in which he netted 40 goals under Ronny Deila. The 29-year-old started more games – 11 in seven weeks – to suggest that for the first time since the Norwegian’s spell that he was shaping up to take on a more pivotal role in Celtic’s forward line.

McGarvey has suggested that the time away from football, both now and in the personal time that Griffiths needed 16 months ago, will have created an opportunity for the player to appreciate the opportunity that is still within his grasp.

“I think he has had a lot of time to think,” said McGarvey. “I think now the onus is on Leigh to go and give a wee bit of payback. If he goes back to training in the right frame of mind with the thought in his head that he is hitting the ground running then he has the chance to pick up where he has left off. But it is up to him to do the right things.”

Like Griffiths, McGarvey can congratulate himself on being part of the elite group of players who have netted over 100 goals for Celtic. But the similarities do not end there, with both men also coping with more personal issues running concurrently with their playing careers.

A forthright speaker, McGarvey might have had a role in punditry given his opinionated views but opted to pick up the joinery tools when football finished. He appreciates that financial concerns will have been a sobering catalyst for Griffiths to get himself back to the kind of form of which he is capable.

“He has a natural gift that has helped him and he has had other issues that have maybe held him back but he has had a lot of help,” said the 64-year-old. “It is up to him now if he can continue where he has left off. You can only get so much help and the rest has to be up to you.

“Footballers care about money, of course they do. Where else do you go and earn the kind of salary that Griffiths is getting now at Celtic anywhere else? That is important.

“I think now it is up to him where he goes. He is in a small band of players who have scored more than 100 goals for Celtic so he has already shown what he can do. And those two free-kicks that he scored against England in a game at the very top level of football are iconic goals now. He has a gift and at just 29 he is still in the prime years of his career. If he does things properly in terms of training and eating and recovering then he has the ability to play for at least another three or four years at the top level.

A big fan of Edouard – “he reminds me of Charlie Nicholas” – McGarvey subscribes to the theory that Frenchman will leave this summer, although the financials in the wake of the coronavirus crisis may limit the sums on offer.

“I do think that someone will come in this summer and put £20million on the table for him,” said McGarvey. “You can’t blame Celtic for taking it, especially in the current climate. I’ll be sorry to see him go because I think he is an outstanding footballer. His temperament and his ability have been there for everyone to see.

“Deep within himself I suspect Leigh will always have known that he could come back and score goals. You are born with that. It is instinctive. He will then have taken confidence, though, from the goals going in and feeling his physical fitness improve and his conditioning return. I am sure he would have finished the season fairly strongly.

“But the thing with the really great strikers is that you are not scoring goals in pockets or doing it for a few months here and there but you are consistent in terms of doing it week after week and season after season. He should still have a lot of football in him and now it is about what he wants for himself. He has the capability it is just making sure that he has everything else tuned towards playing football.”