Everyone who reads this blog knows how I feel about Leigh Griffiths. He is the best Scottish striker of his generation, and I’ve been a fan from before it was fashionable.
You can tell with some players that they just have it all, and I knew that even whilst he was a kid.
Leigh is a part of our history, and a big part. He’s in the 100 goals club and he has been a stalwart on the journey towards ten. It is no exaggeration to say that without his contribution we’d have really been in trouble in the race to win the nine.
But there cannot be another player at the club who has so thoroughly tested the management team and their patience. I detest the Glasgow rumour factory but there is not another player in the squad, or indeed in the country, who generates so much internet gossip.
If it was only gossip that would be one thing, but over and over again some proves accurate.
His fitness has been up and down for as long as I can remember.
Three managers have warned him about it, and told him it will cut short his career. Lennon, Deila and Rodgers are different men with very different styles, but all have intervened at some point or another to try to save Griffiths from himself and you wonder if any of it has gotten through.
His latest indiscretion is perhaps the most serious yet; the party he threw for his girlfriend last weekend and about which the club has warned him.
It is a violation of several of the club’s regulations, and most notably it is a health and safety protocol breach which could have had a major, and serious, impact on the Celtic squad if anyone at that party had the virus.
Celtic must be just about at the end of their tolerance.
The player is pushing his luck beyond the point where we’re going to have any choice left.
I don’t like writing this, but how many warnings does he need from inside the club before he bucks up?
This may well be the reason we’re still talking to both Ajeti and Fletcher.
Griffiths may be testing his relationship with the manager to destruction, and there might be people inside Parkhead who reckon it’s time we consider cutting our losses here.
That would be an awful, awful waste because in a purely football sense there is not even the slightest doubt that Griffiths can offer us something, and on a human level it would pretty much spell the end of his career at a top club.
Yet what options is he leaving us? Griffiths is not a young guy anymore and so there really are no excuses left.
If he isn’t going to toe the line now then he never will. So far his behaviour has been sort of forgivable because it didn’t impact on the club beyond us paying wages for a guy who was unfit to be on the pitch … these latest shenanigans are of a far more serious nature.
There’s only so much Lennon and Lawwell will take … and Leigh seems determined, at times, to push them just that far.
What a shame that is.
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