The Celtic career of Leigh Griffiths was over ages ago.
Take your pick of the options for the moment when it was finally clear to both parties. There have been a number of them.
But he was never going to pull on the famous Hoops again after being booed in pre-season.
Griffiths should be too good a player to sit on the side-lines and rot.
He is probably the best Scottish forward of his generation; it is difficult, to say the least, to come up with a name who is even in his class.
The guy was the consummate finisher.
But he has never been the consummate professional, and three Celtic managers told him that, and told him that he was going to waste the best years of his talent, if he didn’t screw his head on.
A fourth Celtic manager was willing to give him a final chance.
But Griffiths is missing some crucial ingredient necessary for the kind of success that a player of his gifts should have had. What is that ingredient? It’s hard to say.
There are people who talk of watching him spending hours – after training – practicing dead balls, and working on his striking.
He ticked almost all the crucial boxes, but something was missing.
With his Celtic career over, Griffiths had one remaining opportunity to get it right; he could have gone to Dundee and dug in deep. He could have salvaged what’s left of his future and made sure that his next club is a decent one, and not a huge step down.
In part this is Dundee’s fault as much as it’s his, because they went out and signed Edinburgh’s resident yahoo Jason Cummings, an absolute waste of space who might not have had Leigh’s talent but was certainly capable of being a good player.
But Cummings comes with everything but the car with the big rubber wheels and the nose that squirts water when you honk the horn. He belongs in a circus, not out on a football pitch, and teaming he and Griffiths up together was so obviously a disaster that I am astounded that professional people in football didn’t see it a mile away.
Gordon Strachan is a consultant at Dundee.
If he played any role in putting those two in one dressing room that should disqualify him from ever having a job in the sport again. God knows what he’s doing at Celtic, but I am glad Ange isn’t paying any heed to it.
Griffiths is 31.
He should have one last big move in him, and a chance to end his career with more silverware.
After the manner in which he departed Celtic Park, and his Dundee disaster on top of that, can you even imagine the calibre of clubs who will offer him a deal next time around? It’s possible that a decent sized team will take a punt, but that’ll be reflected in the contract and the time on the pitch and their expectations of what he can do.
And Griffiths will be put under no pressure to get fit and stay fit.
I’d say we’ve seen pretty much all that he has to offer. Too many managers have had their doubts about him and expressed them in public, and I think it’s a dreadful way for things to have gone.
He has 123 Celtic goals.
He should have been comfortably over 150 and on his way to a possible double century; only six players in our entire history have reached 200 goals, and Griffiths would have been a good bet to join them, if he’d been able to keep his eyes on the prize.
His career stats bear out the scale of the tragedy.
Griffiths has over 230 career goals in just over 500 games.
Think of how many more he’d have gotten if he’d listened to those men who tried to guide him on the right path; Lennon, Deila and Rodgers all failed. His national coaches, including Gordon Strachan and Steve Clarke, did likewise; they failed as well.
A paltry 22 caps is a testament to how he squandered it.
His four international goals include those incredible two against England; at that point, you’d have sworn that he still had it all in front of him. There was no reason why not.
Instead, it was downhill all the way.
What an utter waste.