One of the most bizarre sagas in the recent history of our club has ended, today, with Dundee securing the loan deal for Leigh Griffiths. From almost the moment he signed his one-year contract extension with the club it was all starting to unravel.
Griffiths talks a good game.
To be frank, that’s all he’s done lately. He was lucky to get a new deal in the first place, and no sooner was it signed than he was in the papers again for all the wrong reasons.
Those who think he was set up are making the classic plea in mitigation for somebody too dumb to defend. Just as “you can’t con an honest man” is the mantra of the hustler, the honey trap is designed with a specific type of mug in mind.
If he was capable of thinking things through, if he wasn’t so led by a certain part of his anatomy which it seems to me too often doubles for his brain, he might not have more kids than a Chinese nursery and his personal life wouldn’t have made so many headlines.
(Before I go on I’m going to repeat what I have in the past; Griffiths is no deadbeat dad. He’s taken responsibility for those kids, and that puts a lot of credit in the bank for him. Still, it speaks to poor impulse control, which is a problem in other areas of his life too.)
Aside from anything else, whenever I think of Griffiths’ reputation off the field I think of the scene from Band Of Brothers where the dreaded Sobel is going through the foot lockers of the men and he finds one half filled with condoms.
“How was he going to find the strength to fight the war?” he snarks at the barracks officer.
Something like this was always coming along.
From the minute he signed that new deal I wondered where the issue would arise and in what form it would take.
I never, unfortunately, doubted that it was coming.
When the press reported on his latest shenanigans I knew he was done.
Yes, there was a whiff of something off-base about some of the coverage and the allegations regarding his neighbour, in particular, were seriously reeking. But the central charge was such that the club couldn’t possibly pretend that everything was normal until the issue was cleared up.
Whatever chance we had of seeing Griffiths in a competitive game was eroding from that point forward.
It was obvious he couldn’t train with the rest of the squad, and when left to his own devices that’s when he’s least trustworthy.
The second fans booed him any residual chance he had was gone.
It was always obvious that some of them were going to, and they would have kept doing it no matter what performances he was able to turn in. Whether he broke the law or not, he crossed a line which left too many of our fans uncomfortable.
At a time when the club was striving for unity, it was never something that the coaching team would be able to ignore.
I was a Griffiths fan for years before he was a Celtic player.
I knew we were on a winner when we signed him, and told him to his face he’d get 100 goals for the club. But he should have scored twice that, and he would have if he’d listened to the warnings of successive managers to train harder, work better, live cleaner and screw the nut.
For all that, incredibly, this is a guy who’s played nearly 60 games for us in the last two season … a remarkable stat which confirms that we are, in fact, losing a first team player here. He’s scored 20 times, which proves that he can still do a job.
Leigh Griffiths will score goals for Dundee.
It wouldn’t shock me if at the end of this campaign we looked at the list of top scorers and found him very near the top.
His ability has never been in doubt, that’s the truly abysmal thing about all this.
But talent on its own isn’t enough without application and drive and a will to be the best.
Leigh Griffiths should be peaking right about now.
Instead he’s trying to rescue his career.
It is a dreadful end to his time at Celtic Park, but for the last couple of years it looked like the inevitable one.