Every aspect of a footballer’s game is painstakingly scrutinised in the modern world of sport, yet the actual fitness of the individual is often taken for granted. Surely a professional athlete’s ability to match the physical demands of their own sport is a given in this day and age?

Apparently not. As you’ll no doubt be aware, this current fortnight of international football has been dominated by Leigh Griffiths’ decision to pull out of the Scotland squad after citing a need to get back to peak fitness for Celtic. But is there any evidence to suggest the 28-year-old is running on empty this season?

When we take a look at Griffiths’ stats there seems to be some obvious indicators that suggest he’s not performing at the same levels we saw of him last season. And, naturally, that could suggest that he simply isn’t match fit and needs time off to recover.

Perhaps the most important factors of the striker’s game that have fallen this season revolve around his ability to score goals. Last season the Scotland international was firing in 0.58 goals per 90 minutes for Celtic, yet this time around that figure has dropped to 0.38 goals per 90 minutes.

To put that another way, it basically means that Griffiths has gone from scoring around six goals every 10 games to just four.  Which is more than a 30 per cent drop off in the key reason the senior striker is on the pitch.

When we dig in to this a little further we can see further proof of his game looking a little rough around the edges. On top of his overall goalscoring falling, Griffiths’ shots per 90 minutes have also dropped from 4.33 to 3.07. And the amount of times he touches the ball in the box per game has almost halved from 4.66 to 2.98.

Essentially, the striker is making himself less available in the box, hitting fewer shots per game, and as a result his goalscoring has almost halved from a very respectable average. This may explain why he only has one goal from his first nine appearances in the Scottish Premiership so far this season.

Despite primarily being a goalscorer for Celtic, Griffiths is also a very good playmaker when it comes to creating chances and goals for his teammates. Yet that aspect of his game also seems to be suffering from this apparent dip in fitness.

Last season the striker averaged 0.33 assists per 90 minutes. Yet in all competitions this season his average has dropped to 0.1. This is perhaps most notable through the manner in which his average through balls have dipped from 0.51 to 0.3 and his passes in to the opposing box have similarly fallen from 1.99 to 1.34 per 90 minutes.

Griffiths is also making fewer dribbles than he was last season. During Celtic’s second treble-winning season the striker was attempting 4.33 per 90 minutes, yet this time around he’s only averaging about 2.5.

Naturally, a number of factors could be at play here. Celtic, as a whole, have seen their form take a notable nosedive in recent months and Griffiths’ pre-season preparations were disrupted by a nasty knee injury. Yet it’s clear to see that the striker isn’t performing at anywhere near the high standard he set himself in the previous campaign.

Is Griffiths unfit? Only he can properly answer that question. But when we compare his stats from last season to this current campaign the striker is undoubtedly nowhere near as sharp as he once was.