Celtic striker Georgios Samaras claims Neil Lennon was acting in his best interests when he dropped him following his hat-trick against Inverness.
Samaras netted his first treble for Celtic during last Wednesday's 6-0 Co-operative Insurance Cup victory over Terry Butcher's side.
However, Shaun Maloney replaced the Greece striker in Lennon's starting line-up for the 2-1 victory against Hibernian three days later, with Samaras coming on for Gary Hooper for the last 20 minutes.
But Samaras believes Lennon is protecting him after a short summer break. The former Manchester City striker was playing pre-season matches for Celtic less than four weeks after playing in Greece's final World Cup match.
Samaras told the Celtic View: "I know they have taken extra care with me as I came in straight after the World Cup and sometimes I need a rest, and that is normal.
"It's not good if you play 90 minutes and then pick up an injury that puts you out for three or four weeks.
"I think the gaffer knows exactly what I can do and sometimes when I am not playing it's for my own good.
"And for the moment we have a good squad and he can use the rotation, and that's a good thing."
Samaras looked to be on his way out of Parkhead this summer after making only one start following the Scottish Cup defeat by Ross County.
However, Samaras has featured in all but two of Celtic's matches this season, mostly from the start, and Lennon recently spoke of offering the 25-year-old a contract extension.
Samaras said of his manager: "He knows me as a football player and what I can do on and off the pitch.
"So I don't think I need to prove to anyone what I can do."
Samaras added: "Everyone knows last year that we were not so good, but I think this year under Lenny he has tried to change the character and attitude of the team, as well as bringing some players in.
"And every day in training and every game, things are getting better and better."Reuse content