Neil Lennon was delighted to see Leigh Griffiths return to action with a trademark goal to rescue Celtic at St Johnstone. The Hoops striker had not played since March due to various fitness issues but he was one of five second-half substitutions made at McDiarmid Park as the champions struggled.
In the final minute of normal time Griffiths headed in a cross from Hatem Elhamed, with fellow substitute Patryk Klimala adding a second in stoppage time for a 2-0 win.
Lennon, who described the first half of the Premiership encounter as “all fur coat and no underwear”, said: “I know what I have got with him. I was disappointed with the way he came back (from pre-season) and then he picked up an injury. We’ve been patient with him but he knows what I think of him as a player. That was Leigh Griffiths in a nutshell.
“Towards the end we started putting real quality into the box early, but we were too passive in the first half. Leigh was unlucky with the one Ryan Christie put in, and Hatem put over a great cross and he buried the header. That’s what he does. We don’t take that for granted with him, but that’s a great start to his season.”
Lennon was less enamoured with the French striker Odsonne Édouard, who has been linked with a series of clubs during the transfer window, including Aston Villa and Arsenal, and who was taken off in the second half. The Celtic manager said: “I think he has about three or four more gears to come.
“Again, I was disappointed with his performance. He needs to settle down. Hopefully after tomorrow he will. I can’t speculate but I think it’s apparent it’s been affecting him. He’s a brilliant player but we are just not seeing the best of him at the moment. Hopefully he’ll calm down once the window shuts and come good for us.”
James Tavernier continued his scoring hot streak as he helped put Rangers back at the top of the table after a 2-0 win over Ross County.
The skipper has now had eight goals in as many games after converting yet another penalty.
Brandon Barker made the points safe with two minutes left as he celebrated his 24th birthday by scoring just his second Rangers goal.
After sparking in recent wins over Willem II, Motherwell and Galatasaray, this was a more subdued display from Steven Gerrard’s team. But it was enough to nudge Rangers back to the Premiership summit after Celtic had briefly taken over at the top with their win in Perth.