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Griffiths savours Celtic return after battle with depression

Leigh Griffiths targeted goals for club and country after overcoming mental health issues.

Leigh Griffiths: Footballer faced personal issues.
Leigh Griffiths: Footballer faced personal issues. SNS

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths said he's focused on returning to form for both club and country after opening up on his 'long, difficult road' to recovery from depression.

The Scotland star was forced onto the sidelines halfway through last season to deal with personal issues but has now made his competitive comeback for the Hoops.

After speaking out about his struggles, Griffiths said he's confident of remaining in a better place.

He said: "I was very lonely at times, without the help of the club, friends, family and support that I had I wouldn't be sitting here now.

"It's been a long, difficult road, but thankfully there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"It was just a slow drip that was building up and [former Celtic manager] Brendan Rodgers has seen that and that's when he stepped in, so it's another thank you to him because, if he hadn't stepped in, who knows where I'd have been?"

Rival fans see me as that rogue on the pitch but they've all been supportive, it's nice to see they can put football rivalry aside.
Leigh Griffiths

Griffiths thanked Scottish football followers for their support during his spell out of action.

"Not just Celtic fans, but fans all over Scotland," he added.

"Rival fans see me as that rogue on the pitch but take me away from that, I'm just a family man.

"They've all been supportive, it's nice to see they can put football rivalry aside."

The 28-year-old made his competitive return off the bench as Celtic beat Sarajevo to progress in Champions League qualifying.

On the reception he received, Griffiths said: "Incredible, I was speaking to one of the kitmen and he said it's one of the best receptions he's heard.

"It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, it was a moment I'd been waiting for for a long time time.

"It's gone, now it's time to look forward."

Griffiths hopes to pull on the national team jersey once again once he gets back up to speed at club level.

The forward is yet to hold talks with new boss Steve Clarke but said "his phone is always on" for a call-up.

He continued: "I'm hoping to just get minutes under my belt for Celtic, play as well as I can.

"If the next squad is announced and I'm in it then great.

"My phone is always on so it's an open invitation."

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