BILLY STARK says that Leigh Griffiths has let Neil Lennon down by failing to stay in peak condition during the football shutdown, but that the Celtic manager is the perfect man to get the striker fit and firing once again.

Stark, who managed Griffiths for a four-year period in the forward’s early career with Scotland at under-19 and under-21 level, admits that his former pupil was never the greatest trainer, but always put 100 percent effort into games.

He says though that at the age of 29, he will no longer be able to get away with such a lax attitude to his fitness, and has to knuckle down if he is to avoid being shown the exit door at Celtic.

Lennon has yet to publicly comment on Griffiths being left behind at Lennoxtown to work on his conditioning as the Celtic boss took his squad to a training camp in Loughborough last week, or reports that the forward will also not travel to France this week for a series of pre-season friendlies.

But Stark believes that behind the scenes, Griffiths will have been left in no doubt that his place in the Celtic side is far from a given, despite his impressive form prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Leigh’s goalscoring record with Celtic is sensational, and that’s not something you dismiss lightly,” said Stark.

“I think that’s maybe why Celtic, Neil and Brendan Rodgers – maybe to a lesser extent – have generally been pretty patient with him and have got their rewards from that.

“Leigh’s qualities are there for everyone to see. He’s not been one that you could describe as being the best trainer in the world, but you always got 100 percent out of him on a Saturday.

“Of course, that can’t go on indefinitely though. You need to get yourself in shape to attack the season.

“I’m sure Celtic know how to deal with him, and he’s been left behind to work on his fitness, so I’m sure that will benefit everybody. It will disappoint the manager I’m sure. He would have wanted everybody to come back in the best of shape.

“Neil will be disappointed he’s not got him in France to get him up to speed as quickly as he can, but he’s been in this situation before and he’s got himself turned round, and I’m sure he will do it again.”