Celtic hero Chris Sutton offers grim Leigh Griffiths assessment

By Euan Davidson

May 22, 2021

While so many have had their say on Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths missing the Euros, perhaps Chris Sutton’s assessment is the most brutal.

Griffiths was a controversial snub by Scotland boss Steve Clarke for Euro 2020. Ahead of the Celtic man, Che Adams, Lyndon Dykes and Kevin Nisbet have been preferred for Scotland’s first major tournament since 1998.

While Griffiths has been a dependable striker in seasons past, he’s lacked fitness and hasn’t topped 20 goals since the 15-16 campaign [Transfermarkt]. A combination of difficult personal factors, the pecking order at Celtic and problems with injuries have contributed to his lack of goals.

Sutton, speaking on BT Sport Scottish Football Extra, said of the Celtic striker:

“Leigh Griffiths? We keep hearing this argument: ‘he’s the best finisher’.

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“Fact of the matter is you’re going into a major tournament, what if something happens to Dykes? What if something happens to Adams?

“…They get injured, can Leigh Griffiths then go and play 90 minutes? That’s not going to happen.”

Leigh Griffiths celebrates in Serbia / (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

Former Celtic man Chris Sutton is probably right this time, too

Sadly, we just haven’t seen Leigh Griffiths play 90 minutes in a considerable length of time. The closest he got was an 81 minute appearance in a 2-0 win over Ross County. Even in 19-20, Griff only stayed on the park for the entirety of a game twice.

That in itself isn’t completely shocking. After all, strikers will often be subbed off if a result is comfortable, or the first to be taken off it something isn’t quite working.

However, Griffiths’ fitness has been a long-term concern. The fact he’s barely featured in recent weeks suggests that either he’s not been ready to contribute meaningfully, or John Kennedy didn’t see enough in training. With Odsonne Edouard very likely to leave, you’d imagine Kennedy might’ve wanted more from the ex-Wolves and Dundee striker.

It’s just not happened. All things considered, it’s hard to criticise Steve Clarke. He’s got to pick players who are both consistent and fit.

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