Celtic boss Ronny Deila has revealed that he hopes striker Leigh Griffiths stays injury-free between now and the end of the season because of his importance to the team.
The 25-year-old was sidelined throughout the second half of December with a calf injury as Celtic won two, drew one and suffered a home defeat against Motherwell while he was absent.
Saturday’s Premiership home clash with Partick Thistle was also heading for a frustrating goalless draw but Griffiths stepped off the bench to score in the last minute of normal time with his 20th goal of the season to seal the win.
The victory took Celtic three points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table with a game in hand and reinforced his importance to Deila’s plans for the second half of the season.
The side remain on course to retain the Premiership title, while they travel to face Stranraer in the Scottish Cup on Sunday and Deila is hoping Griffiths will be able to feature in that game and beyond.
The Norwegian told the club’s official website: “We just have to do everything right to keep him injury-free for the rest of the season.
“Hopefully he’ll be 100 per cent for the match at the weekend against Stranraer.
“He’s never really been out with injury but he does everything he can.
“We have taken it slow because he needed to rest so now we need to be careful.” Celtic are 1.14 to win at Stranraer, while the League One hosts are 19.00 and the draw is 7.50.