Former Rangers striker Ally McCoist has said the way Leigh Griffiths acted this summer was ‘a disgrace’, nearly a week after the Celtic forward earned praise from manager Neil Lennon for his fitness turnaround.
Griffiths was criticised by Lennon earlier this month and left at home while the squad travelled to France, after returning from lockdown over his ideal playing weight and short of the required fitness.
There’s no doubt that the circumstances were far from ideal and that Griffiths let himself down but in the time since he has worked really hard to get back into the manager’s plans.
Now, a good while after the drama, McCoist has weighed in with a harsh verdict.
Speaking on BT Sport 1 tonight (Scottish Football Extra 31/07, 18:45), the former Ibrox boss said: “He just absolutely baffles me that wee man. That wee man should be scoring goals for Celtic and playing in the Scotland team.
“I don’t know if he doesn’t get it or whatever, I just don’t understand it. I just think it’s a disgrace the way he came back, and he wasn’t in a fit enough state to go with the rest of his teammates to France.”
Fellow pundit Chris Sutton would go on to agree, with the panel apparently intent on retreading old ground when it comes to the Scotland international.
Lennon has made it quite clear he is now looking forward to Griffiths’ impact in the team this season, telling The Scottish Sun on July 26th: “I was absolutely delighted to see the condition Griff has got himself in when we came back this week.
“He had a lot of criticism but he deserves praise for the way he has come back. There is a massive difference.
“It’s all down to him and he has to maintain that now, but it’s been a great response.
“He has got himself to a really good level and it’s important he maintains that because he will be an asset to us.”
The striker then got minutes under his belt against Hibernian in a Monday afternoon friendly and was impressive, setting up Patryk Klimala for a goal that could well have been his.
The last thing that Griffiths needs is more high profile pundits slamming him on national broadcasts and hopefully he’s blocking it all out to focus on making appearances in competitive action over the next few weeks.
In early 2020 he was a stand-out performer for the Hoops and scored a hat-trick in our last game of the season against St Mirren.
Despite self-imposed problems this summer, there’s no reason to think he won’t be important in 2020/21.