Leigh Griffiths and Celtic always appeared unlikely to have another chapter in them but the book seemed to close very firmly on the striker yesterday afternoon as Ange Postecoglou suggested it would be wise to look for opportunities elsewhere.

The 31-year-old has had an indifferent loan spell at Dundee where his most notable contribution was the kicking of a flare that invited the kind of headlines he has been used to in recent seasons. The years of Griffiths hitting the 40-goal mark seem like a long time ago.

Griffiths cut a forlorn figure in the Hampden stands only this summer as he watched Scotland head into their first major tournament since 1998 without a squad number. Just as the patience of club manager’s had long burned out waiting for Griffiths to knuckle down, so too Steve Clarke’s side moved on without him. For a player who could consider himself one of the most naturally gifted finishers of his generation, the premature nature of his career drawing out to a close is a sad return for what he is capable of.

Postecoglou’s Celtic and the training demands that go with them seem to be far removed from Griffiths and where he finds himself now with just two goals of a return from his 14 Dens Park appearances.

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The trajectory has been downwards ever since Ronny Deila’s time at Celtic came to an end. Griffiths’ form that term was a huge factor in shaping Celtic’s campaign as the club lifted their fifth successive title. On the Monday evening in June when Brendan Rodgers was paraded in front of a rapturous crowd, Griffiths had more cause than anyone to feel relaxed given the goal-scoring season he had just completed.

The player was the only first-team member there that night as he enjoyed the carnival atmosphere within the ground. Larking around with the Premier League trophy which was on display and cavorting with fans he would not have envisaged what lay ahead. The arrival of Moussa Dembele was the start of the end as he drifted out of the starting eleven. Since then there have been too many brief renaissances to count but none have been sustained.

There have been well-documented struggles off the pitch but for Rodgers and Neil Lennon who both worked with the striker at close quarters, Griffiths left them pulling out their hair at times. Articulate and not one to shirk responsibility after the event – Griffiths took the ferocious public lashing that came his way in the aftermath of his lockdown weight gain after failing to upload stats and times to the club’s sports science department in favour of enjoying the good life – it has been difficult at times not to warm to the striker. For too long, though, it has seemed like an inability to cope with the increasingly athletic demands of the modern game and the monastic professionalism it requires have moved beyond him.

When the curtain does come down on Griffith's time he will have cause to lament just how indelible his name could have been in Celtic's history books; Griffiths is only 10 goals shy of becoming the first Celtic player since Henrik Larsson to hit 100 league goals. He would also have been the first Scot to do so since Kenny Dalglish completed that feat in 1976. No-one else has marked the 100-league goal club at Celtic in the past 45 years. 

It is the what might have beens that will linger.