Former Celtic striker and pundit John Hartson has expressed sympathy for Hoops star Leigh Griffiths after Neil Lennon’s public dressing down this week.
The Celtic manager didn’t hold back with his criticism of the struggling striker with comments to reporters, laying out Griffiths’ lack of fitness preparation and calling on the 29-year-old to stop his social media antics (The Daily Record).
Lennon’s comments have won the backing of many Celtic fans.
There’s a feeling that this season is simply too important to carry anyone not pulling their weight in training.
For Hartson though, the concern is primarily about the impact this is all having on Griffiths.
Writing on Twitter, the BBC Sport pundit said: “This might upset a few people but I’ve always looked at things in a way we can help people. Griffiths yes has let his manager down and yes has let himself down but think for a minute how he is feeling right now. Lonely, Anxious, depressed, sad, hope he bounces back from this.”
This might upset a few people but I’ve always looked at things in a way we can help people. LG yes has let his manager down and yes has let himself down but think for a minute how LG is feeling right now. Lonely, Anxious, depressed, sad, hope he bounces back from this. 🤞🏻🍀
— John Hartson (@JohnHartson10) July 18, 2020
It’s a reminder that there is a human element to all this public drama and that Griffiths still needs support, even when given ultimatums.
Don’t get me wrong, I reckon Lennon was actually pretty spot on with his comments.
Clearly things have stalled so much with the Scotland international that public criticism is considered the only way to motivate him.
The manager’s judgment on this issue should be trusted.
However, it’s important to remember that Griffiths is still a Celtic man and, with a history of mental health problems, should be given a break from too much fan criticism and backlash.
There’s been a lot of noise in the wake of Lennon’s statement and not all of it is productive.
Ultimately the hope is that Griffiths gets back to the hard work and back to his best.