Leigh Griffiths has been told "I need to get fitter" to become a starter for Celtic despite his goal in Sunday's Scottish Cup final win over Hearts.
But the striker believes he is in a Catch 22 situation as he looks for more playing time to secure a place in Scotland's Euro 2020 finals squad.
"There is a difference between being fit and match fit," Griffiths said.
"And you need to play games to get match fit and, the more minutes I get, the fitter I will be."
Griffiths has made only nine appearances since football resumed after last season was halted because of the pandemic and was taken off at half-time in his one start - in a 3-1 defeat by AC Milan in the Europa League.
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But the 30-year-old came off the bench to score his fourth goal since the summer break and put Celtic 3-2 ahead in extra-time at Hampden before also finding the net in the penalty shoot-out.
"It is about working hard in training and trying to make an impact when you can, if you can come off the bench," he said. "Hopefully I have done that and given the manager a wee bit of a headache going forward.
"He said after the game that I need to get fitter. Well, that green stuff, the pitch, I need to be on that to get match fit."
Griffiths, who scored 11 goals in 31 appearances last season, has found himself behind Odsonne Edouard, Patryk Klimala and summer signing Albian Ajeti since returning after the summer break with fitness issues.
"We have four strikers here all vying for the one place just now, with the formation we go with," he said. "Luckily I have still been in squads, still been on the bench.
"I am not unfit. I am fit - but just not match fit and you can tell. Obviously I have not had a run of games.
"So, from now until at least March, I want to get a good run of form and still be in Steve Clarke's plans. It is something to look forward to in the summer, but I won't be there if I don't play games and keep scoring goals."