After I published my match report yesterday, a few people asked me why I didn’t mention the Leigh Griffiths “flashpoint” for which he was awarded a yellow card.
The answer is simple. It was an absolute non-issue.
I am not in the least bit surprised that Sevconia went full-on nuts over it.
I am not surprised everyone at Hamilton is squealing about it, although only one player reacted at the time, and it wasn’t even the alleged victim.
I am not surprised that BT Sport wanted to study it like the Zapruder Film.
I am more surprised that so many Celtic fans believe it was some kind of stamp. I’ve also read some people suggesting that Lennon was not happy with Griffiths for it; that’s utter nonsense, I’m afraid, as Lennon makes perfectly clear.
He was unhappy with the shove that got Leigh booked. But our manager is pretty clear on what he thinks of the incident the media is determined to play up.
“I didn’t think he stamped on him,” Lennon said. “He did push the guy in the chest (Gogic), and that’s not what I want. Ill-discipline – it’s not what we’re about. We try to keep our discipline as much as we possibly can.”
Most commentators have already succumbed either to their need to be controversial – confirming what I said the other day about the number of folk in our media who are obsessed with putting themselves at the centre of the story – or to their biases.
Michael Stewart, who is without a shadow of a doubt the most fair-minded of all of them, was not playing that game. He didn’t think it was a red card and spelled out his reasons why, which – incidentally – were exactly the same thoughts many people I spoke to had on it.
“You can see there the defender’s hand is on Leigh Griffiths’ foot a little bit and he loses his balance,” he said. “I think he still knows what he’s doing, he could have moved his foot, he could have planted it elsewhere, but I don’t think there’s enough force in it and I don’t think it’s a stamp.”
I’ve watched the footage a hundred times. Griffiths has his foot raised, and is keeping it away from the player as much as he can, until the player on the deck rolls into it. The idea that he stamped on the player – who did not react in any way as if Griffiths had – is frankly ludicrous and even offensive.
Nothing of the sort happened here.
After the game, I said to my old man that the media was going to start clamouring for Griffiths to be done.
“They can’t if he’s already been booked,” he told me.
But I knew at once what the angle they’d use would be.
Griffiths was never sanctioned for the incident; he was booked for the shove.
I knew that would be enough to get them foaming, and so it is today with The Record and other papers already suggesting that the compliance officer might look at it.
When you consider the way Morelos has been canonised by these people it is a travesty that they are turning their guns on Griffiths.
But the minute he started to score goals again, this was exactly what I had expected them to do.
Stewart, at least, refuses to play this game. This guy is an excellent journalist, because he does not seek to sensationalise things for his own – or other’s – ends. The man talks straight. The man tells it true. This is why so many of us like him so much.