Former Celtic striker Charlie Nicholas has had a pretty bizarre dig at Hoops striker Leigh Griffiths today.
Griffiths was caught up in an incident with Hamilton’s Sam Woods on Sunday at the Fountain of Youth stadium. The Scotland international had his flashpoint looked at by a panel of experts today, who didn’t come to a general consensus that he deserved a red card. This was to do with an apparent “stamp” on the Hamilton man (Glasgow Times).
It’s the first real off-the-ball flashpoint Griffiths has had since coming back from a prolonged absence. Yet, it hasn’t stopped Nicholas from having a petty dig.
Speaking in his Daily Express column today (04/02, page 52), the Sky Sports pundit stated that Griffiths has to remove the anger from his game.
“Leigh Griffiths is getting back to his best but he has to lose the anger from his game. The striker was lucky not to be sent off at Hamilton on Sunday. It wasn’t a forceful stamp, but Griffiths knew what he was doing.
“Why does he need to be so angry right now? He should get his game head on and score goals – and then everything else will fall into place. Leigh will turn 30 in August. When you get to that age you start to question yourself on the pitch a lot more.
“It becomes more about the team and Leigh has always been an individual. Leigh needs to concentrate on enjoying his football. The anger should come as you put the ball in the net – but after that you ought to celebrate.”
Griffiths has no history of on-field anger
This is just totally bizarre from Nicholas. What anger is he talking about? Griffiths hardly has a track record of red cards at Parkhead that have let him down.
In fact, this season alone he’s only picked up two yellow cards in 23 appearances (Transfermarkt). Before his absence last season which started in December, Griff also only picked up a further two bookings in 20 more appearances (Transfermarkt).
It’s not as if he’s been getting angry on his barren runs either. When Griffiths failed to score in nine before the winter break, there were no major incidents of dissent or ill-discipline. If there is any anger from Griff, it’s not coming to the detriment of Celtic.
If Nicholas is also using the Alex Gogic push as evidence for his care, then sure it was silly from the Celtic striker. However, look at it from his perspective. He’s just been pushed despite thinking he didn’t do anything wrong. Even if it was silly, you can at the very least understand his momentary frustration.
But the fact is that Griffiths doesn’t “need” to wipe anger from his game. He’s not some sort of uncontrollable hothead who’s consistently letting the club down. What happened on Sunday was a one-off incident, and it doesn’t need to be treated like a long-term problem.
This was disappointing from Nicholas. There’s no need to have a pop at Leigh here, and thankfully, we can now put it all behind us after he avoided punishment for the incident.