Celtic boss Neil Lennon has leapt to the defence of Leigh Griffiths after an incident on the touchline as the striker was substituted off.

Our number nine was taken off late in the second half for Mikey Johnston and was involved in a slight spat with some in the home support.

Griffiths played a key role on the pitch throughout the evening.

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As well as his goal, it was his corner that Christopher Jullien powered home to put Celtic in cruise control.

Yet questions post-match seemed mostly aimed towards what happened off the field.

Leigh Griffiths and Scott Brown

Leigh Griffiths and Scott Brown (Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

And this led to Lennon producing a stinging defence of his front-man when quizzed by reporters.

Speaking after the game, the manager opened up on just what happened after the substitution: “He was getting a lot of abuse that was totally uncalled for. He was backed up by myself and his teammates on the bench.

“I thought his behaviour tonight was exemplary and at times we take uncalled for abuse. He didn’t do anything wrong.

“People can blow it up but it was nothing. He always seems to get controversy surrounding him, but I’ll back him to the hilt on this one. His behaviour tonight was top class as was his performance.

 

“The kid had played well. He hadn’t gotten himself into any bother on the pitch. He goes to sit down and he gets abuse.

“Again, you’re looking for a story that’s just not there. He threw a bit of tape on the ground, he didn’t throw it at somebody.”

Griffiths has nothing to apologise for

You can fully believe Lennon’s version of events 100%. Griffiths did next to nothing wrong, and the spotlight shouldn’t be taken away from what was a wonderful display from him tonight.

The manager has made an important move here – he’s backed Griffiths unquestionably. That’s the kind of love and support that the Celtic striker needs to continue on his path to first-team redemption.

Tonight was huge for him, and it doesn’t deserve to be watered down due to him reacting in low-key fashion to abuse he received.

Celtic boss Neil Lennon

Celtic boss Neil Lennon (Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ultimately, Griffiths scoring and performing against the rest of Scottish football seems to wind opposition fans up. He gives his all for the Hoops and deserves the strong defence his manager has provided him.

You can bet our returning striker will be laughing it off tonight too. He’s returning to top form by the looks of it, and many of our rivals simply don’t like it.

Good on Lennon for getting right behind him and shutting down what he determined was the media looking to turn a non-story into a controversial incident.

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