We ought to have expected it, I guess.
Leigh Griffiths gave an interview to CelticTV last week, and the media was scrutinising it carefully. They found no evidence that the player and the manager don’t get on. In fact, all the proofs that exist point to them having a very good, very honest, relationship which works on every level. But the press wants to ignore that, and find a negative.
Know what they focussed on?
That Leigh didn’t deny there was a problem.
He didn’t deny something. Hard to do when you’re not asked to.
Leigh didn’t answer a question he was never asked.
And that’s a news story, now?
Here’s what none of the press will say.
Of course there’s a little anger on Leigh’s side. The manager expected that. It was the reaction he was looking for, the one that makes the player work harder.
It happens at football clubs everywhere, if the man in the dugout has a little basic psychology.
But Brendan and Leigh have a good relationship.
They’ve said so many, many times before.
I marvel at the media’s sudden interest in the dynamic at football clubs here in Scotland. Once again, we have a demonstration which hints at two very different ways of covering the Glasgow teams. On the one hand, they are actively looking for a story where there is none. On the other, they’ve actually ignored stories which are out there and which are known to a large number of people, and have even been written about on the blogs.
The thing of it is, there’s no need to go looking for a story here.
Because Brendan put his feelings upfront and in public when it came to Leigh Griffiths. He said nothing to the media he hasn’t said to the player to his face; there was nothing underhanded or sneaky about what our manager did. There was no public airing of grievances unsaid in private.
“Everybody has been talking about if there is a rift between me and the gaffer because of what he said but it is great to be back on the pitch, back among the boys and back in the matchday squad,” Leigh said, in reference to Brendan’s media intervention. And that was all.
Note that Leigh refers to Brendan as “the gaffer”; that’s a term of respect, even affection.
In truth, no-one but the press is talking a so-called “rift.”
Brendan’s comments were weeks ago; he has since praised Leigh’s attitude in training. He wants him back in the team. He wants him at Celtic Park for years to come. There’s no dubiety here whatsoever. Brendan’s comments weren’t a dig; they were an honest assessment of where Leigh is, and a plea to the player to get down to the kind of graft that will keep him at his peak for years to come.
You only have to look south of the border to see Zlatan Ibrahimovi? still scoring at the highest level – two goals in a cup final yesterday for Man Utd – to see what can be achieved. In contrast, there’s Wayne Rooney, at 31, years younger than the Swede, and widely regarded as past it. At such an age. On £300,000 a week. It’s a scandal, and somewhere there is a failure of coaching and attitude. Leigh could play well into his thirties; look across town at Kenny Miller. Whatever else you think of him, there’s a model professional right there.
Miller himself offers a case in point as to what I mean about the media.
Everyone in Glasgow knows he’s not happy at Ibrox right now, that he has issues with some of his team-mates, that he had problems with Warburton, and that he plainly hates some of those at the top of the club. This isn’t a secret, and his disrespect for the stand-in boss is obvious to anyone who saw the match at the weekend and his moody reaction to getting tactical instructions.
Everyone knows there are dressing room cliques at Sevco.
Everyone knows there are fissures on the board – the very last thing the club needs.
But nobody in the media is writing about that, or looking too hard for the proof. Keith Jackson says today that King and Warburton didn’t talk for nearly eight months; I remember a lot of the bloggers saying something akin to that. The media didn’t look to find out, they just ran with blind sources who said we were talking nonsense. It’s some profession where they can invent news whilst ignoring that which is actually out there.
Ten out of ten for a cushy number.