WE have been here before with Leigh Griffiths. Many, many times.

One of his less clever moves came 18 months ago. The Celtic player was photographed at Newcastle racecourse with friends. No big deal, except that a place synonymous with gambling is not the best arena in which this particular footballer should spent his spare time given his well-documented struggles.

Also, he was on a break from the game – his Celtic team-mates were in Dubai – the club having granted his wish to allow him to deal with certain personal issues, as they should have done.

I was in Dubai covering the January winter break. Most days, the journalists, both newspaper and broadcast, would go to the Celtic team’s hotel to carry out interviews. That day, the day Griffiths’s pictures appeared, it was obvious the images had not gone down at all well with Brendan Rodgers and his coaching staff.

You didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to conclude that Mr Griffiths was in the bad books. Again.

I wrote a column on it for the next day’s paper. I sympathised with him and used the phrase “the heid has never been fully screwed tight” in reference to his past discretions.

The hard of thinking had a social media pile on – as the kids say – because they wrongly claimed this was an attack on Griffiths’s admission he was suffering from mental health problems.

It obviously wasn’t but, hey, who cares about context and accuracy when your only contact with the outside world is a ‘like’ on Twitter.

Only this year, Rab Douglas told a story about Griffiths, while they were both playing for Dundee, being late for a Scottish Cup game at Motherwell. The tactics had to change because the main striker hadn’t turned up and then when he did, everything switched back.

It was a recipe for disaster. Motherwell won 4-0. Griffiths got himself sent off. After the match, he was put up against a wall by Douglas, who had his team-mate by the throat. That the goalkeeper was naked does add to the story.

Anyway, I was the devil, according to the angry and never wrong mob, who were in for a bit of a shock the next day when Rodgers, still a god in January 2019, said very much the same thing about a player he’d by then had enough of.

Nobody at Celtic pulled me up about what I wrote, not the manager, press office, Griffiths or his agent, who I’ve dealt with a number of times since. Go figure.

Had Rodgers stayed, Griffiths would no longer be a Celtic player. That is a certainty. Neil Lennon came in and it is in his nature to try to get the best out of this ridiculously talented but troubled man.

But there is only so much he could and can do.

John Collins dragged him aside when he was coach to tell him – and this is public knowledge – that he was on his last chance at Celtic which if he didn’t take, if he didn’t improve his training and diet, he would be moved on.

Ronny Deila was such a lovely man that he would rather have poked out his eyes than criticise his own player and yet he felt the need to discuss Griffiths’ failings in a press conference.

Please believe me when I say that a year or so ago, there were quite a few who would watch Griffiths on the park and wonder if he would ever get make up what to them was an obvious loss of pace.

“His arms were going when he ran but the legs couldn’t get there,” was an observation put to me.

Lennon even changed his team towards the end of last season to get Griffiths and Odsonne Edouard in the starting eleven; to the delight of all, certainly me, because it was hard to see that two going through a game without one of them scoring.

The now 29-year-old looked fit. He moved to a new house and a better area for him. He had a manager who was a perfect fit. And then he turned up for pre-season so out of shape that Lennon made him train on his own which means he misses two friendly games which are more important this summer than at any time before because of lockdown.

It’s not good enough. It wouldn’t be for a Sunday pub team. It certainly isn’t for Celtic, a team and club on the cusp of perhaps the second greatest season in its history.

Lennon is furious. As a player, he was always available for selection. He would report for pre-season training earlier than everyone else. He didn’t need to worry about whether Henrik Larsson would walk into the dressing room looking a bit jowly.

Griffiths has been given more help and support by the club than any Celtic player I can recall. As a person, he is much loved. Even big Rab described him as a loveable rogue.

But there comes a time, even in the career of Leigh Griffiths, when the club will say no more.

Lockdown has affected us all and perhaps Griffiths struggled more than most. If so, he has my sympathy. But no other player was overweight. Chris Sutton and Paul Lambert have been critical. Both remain close to Lennon. As they say in America, do the math.

This season is too important for Lennon to take any risks he doesn’t need to. This time it really is Griffiths’s final chance. Until the next time.