Celtic hero John Hartson casts doubt on Griffiths/Nisbet swap

By Euan Davidson

August 24, 2021

John Hartson has poured cold water on a potential Celtic swap deal involving Leigh Griffiths and Kevin Nisbet.

A lot of supporters are into the idea of a Nisbet/Griffiths deal, plus cash. The suggestion of a deal was mooted by PLZ Soccer’s Peter Martin, a man with close ties to Celtic. However, Hibs boss Jack Ross has since quashed the rumours.

And now, former Bhoys talisman Hartson has added his voice to the list of cynics. The Welsh former striker, often a pundit who covers Hoops matches, believes there’s inherent risk involved from Celtic’s point of view.

Hartson said [Herald]:

“He’s a good player. He’s not played at this level, while Griffiths has produced at this level.

“So it’s not as simple as saying Nisbet would be great and Griff can go back to Hibs.

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“A few punters believe Griffiths still has a part to play. If Celtic do lose Edouard then they’ll need to buy another striker anyway as Ajeti doesn’t look good enough and Griffiths has had his issues.

“He does score goals, but I don’t know. He’s brought a lot of himself at times but I still like him as a player.

“I like Nisbet. He scored 14 goals last year and when Celtic come calling he would love that I’m sure.

“But he’s important to Jack Ross at Hibs. He helped then finish third last season and they will be aiming for that again. They won’t want to lose him.”

Celtic hero Hartson backs Griffiths’ pedigree, doubts Nisbet

Hartson is right in a sense; Griffiths has scored a lot of goals for Celtic.

But you can’t really test someone’s true ability to step up to playing for a club like ours unless they actually do it. There would’ve been similar doubt around Griffiths’ capabilities before he signed for Celtic.

Photo by Callum Landells/Getty Images

Also, it’s probably more realistic to talk about Griffiths’ goal-scoring heroics in the past tense. It’s been a considerable length of time since he was hitting significant numbers for the club.

In the meantime, his off-pitch incidents have brought the club into disrepute. Nisbet seems altogether far less controversial, and that’s something the club ought to factor in here, if a potential deal of any kind is on the cards.

Hibs absolutely won’t want to lose him, but for the right bid, they’ll probably be able to accept his need to play at a higher level. Competing for titles at Celtic would represent that step up.

For sure, it’s an interesting take from Hartson.

Read more: Another former Bhoys striker speaks on transfers, this time in disbelief

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