While exotic destinations and luxury travel were crammed into the bulk of the Celtic squad’s June itinerary, Leigh Griffiths eschewed the planes, trains and automobiles for extra time in the gym.

On the back of a season that was interrupted repeatedly by injury issues, Griffiths took out his frustration by looking to ensure that he returned for pre-season training this week in the best possible shape.

With Odsonne Edouard at the club now on a permanent deal there will be another three-way fight for the starting shirt at Celtic.

Griffiths has welcomed the addition of the Frenchman but a summer spent getting his head as right as his body suggests he is aware of what will be required when the games start coming.

The striker had a hernia operation in the immediate aftermath of Scott Brown’s testimonial game. He took a fortnight to heal and then headed back onto the treadmill. Griffiths’ social media post yesterday afternoon in the wake of a Lennoxtown session perhaps underlined the wisdom of his decision as he uploaded a shot of him converting a Lewis Morgan cross to net an acrobatic bicycle kick.

In some ways getting and staying in the starting line-up this season will be as eye-catching a feat given the quality that stands in front of him.

“I didn’t go anywhere this summer,” said Griffiths. “I had a wee tidy up hernia operation a couple of days after Broony’s testimonial. That put me out for a couple of weeks then after that I was back in the gym working on my fitness. The op was my reason for not going away with Scotland to Peru and Mexico but I spoke to Mr McLeish about it and he was fine with it. He wants me fit and ready for September to fire us in the qualifiers.

“I had a decent rest. I gave myself plenty of rest time and I spent a lot of time with my kids. I’m a home bird anyway. I like being around my family and kids. It’s difficult enough to take them out of school and away. But I feel I’ve had a decent enough break and I’m ready for the new season.”

The past two seasons have been difficult on a personal level for Griffiths in terms of involvement. A run of injury issues and illness have interrupted his run of games and last season Celtic sent him to consult a specialist to ascertain the reason for the repeated calf problems.

Having got to the root of that, Griffiths is now looking to kick on as soon as the season gets underway.

“It was to do with my hip muscles blocking my full range of movement,” the striker explained. “As soon as that got released I’ve not felt anything in my calf. I got deep tissue massage and I’ve worked in the gym and done prehab before and again after training. The muscles that weren’t working properly are working properly now and I’ve now been injury free since the second week in March. Hopefully that keeps going. I am fit and ready.”

The season will come calling quickly as Celtic prepare for their Champions League qualification campaign. The first step on a journey that the club hope will ultimately lead to another invitation to the Europe’s premier club tournament comes on July 10th with the game in Armenia.

And while there is a feeling that one of the main challenges for Brendan Rodgers this term might be in keeping three strikers happy, the requirement for a trio of forwards was highlighted at this stage almost 12 months ago when Celtic were facing getting through the qualifiers without one fully fit striker.

“You want competition for places,” said Griffiths. “It isn’t just strikers who have competition, it is everyone. It is a great addition to the squad. We have seen his qualities, especially in the second half of the season.

“Pre-season is important to get your fitness and base but it is about taking your chance when you get it. Whoever starts the season will have a dip at some stage and when that happens you need to your chance when you can get it.”

While Celtic’s immediate concern will be on plotting their way into the group stages, the expectancy is that there will be a greater challenge domestically. The Parkhead side have enjoyed unprecedented success under Rodgers with back-to-back trebles but the arrival of Steven Gerrard at Rangers has been seen as the catalyst that will reignite a title fight.

“It’s not just them,” said Griffiths. “If you look at last season, Hibs finished strongly. Aberdeen will be up there fighting again. Hearts have added to their squad. The league is getting stronger and stronger every year and we relish the challenge.”

While Griffiths didn’t jet off this summer in a bid to be in the best possible shape ahead of the season returning, he has had time to sit in front of the TV to tune into the World Cup footage. If there was a what if element to his viewing, Griffiths still found the humour in being on the outside looking in.

“He [Ronaldo] has obviously been watching my freekicks on YouTube,” he joked. “ The World Cup’s been good. The biggest shock for me so far was Poland. It’s the biggest stage of all and sometimes there are upsets. But there could be more upsets and surprises to come.

“We didn’t start the qualifiers as well as we did towards the end. If we had we would have been there but overall it was not good enough.”