CELTIC striker Leigh Griffiths has not travelled with the Parkhead first-team squad to Loughborough University and had been told that he will not be flying out with the rest of the team to France tomorrow.

It is understood that Griffiths has incurred the wrath of manager Neil Lennon after returning from lockdown heavier than his optimum playing weight.

Celtic are due to fly out on Monday to play three games in five days against Nice, Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain in the Veolia Trophy but Griffiths has been judged not fit enough to participate by the Hoops boss.

Instead the Scotland striker has been requested to work on his own training programme at Lennoxtown while the remainder of the first-team prepares for the season kicking off on August 2.

The Celtic players returned to staggered training sessions last month when lockdown restrictions were eased but it’s believed that Griffiths reported back having failed to meet his conditioning targets.

As the Parkhead side gear up for an historic season as they push to deliver a tenth successive title, Lennon had been optimistic that Griffiths would have been capable of sustaining the form he had showed in the latter half of the previous campaign.

The striker had returned from the winter training camp in Dubai to play a prominent part in Celtic’s run-in towards the title.

Having taken time off in December 2018 to deal with personal issues, it was Griffiths most sustained run of form in the first-team since Ronny Deila's final season at Celtic when he netted 40 goals.

The 29-year-old hit eight goals in 13 games from the turn of the year and his hat-trick against St Mirren in the game immediately prior to the Covid-19 interruption had put him firmly in line for a starting place against Rangers at Ibrox. That game was cancelled as the global pandemic took hold.

His form had also put him back in contention with Steve Clarke as Scotland geared up for their Euro 2020 play-off against Israel that has not been pencilled in for October.

Griffiths now faces an uphill battle to regain the trust of the Celtic manager and get himself in a position where he is physically fit enough to get back into the first-team. 

The Parkhead side open their season in less than three weeks with a game against Hamilton Accies.

A Celtic spokesman last night said: "Leigh is undertaking his own fitness programme along with some other players at Lennoxtown and will team up with the squad when they return from France."