Sparta Prague's Srdjan Plavsic calls out Lennon's "huge mistake"; talks up Celtic's Griffiths

By David Walton

November 10, 2020

Sparta Prague star Srdjan Plavsic has stated his belief that Neil Lennon made a “big mistake” in not featuring Leigh Griffiths from the start last week.

The Serbian has been previewing Scotland’s upcoming Euro 2020 clash against his home nation and has been providing his opinion on some of the Scots’ key Celtic stars after seeing them up close last Thursday night.

Plavsic came on for the final couple of minutes of Prague’s 4-1 hammering of the Hoops at Parkhead in what was a sorry Europa League performance from the champions. Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, and Griffiths all look set to play a part for Scotland this week after playing against Sparta in that embarrassing defeat.

However, only one of the three mentioned impressed Plavsic, as he hit out at the decision from Lennon not to start energetic frontman Griffiths.

As quoted by the Daily Record, Plavsic said: “I played against Ryan Christie, Callum McGregor and Leigh Griffiths for Sparta against Celtic last week and they are all important Scotland players. Christie has great speed and technique and Celtic’s attack depended on him. He comes inside from the wing and is always looking to try and get a shot away.

“McGregor is physically strong and aggressive in every tackle. He did the dirty jobs for Celtic in the middle of the park. But the one who really impressed me was Griffiths.

“He came on in the second half and brought liveliness to the Celtic team. His teammates all believed he would score for them and he did almost immediately. In my opinion, Celtic’s manager made a big mistake by not playing him from the start. But that’s their problem. I hope Scotland do the same and don’t play him from the kick-off either.”

Celtic’s Scots didn’t show their best side vs Prague

It’s interesting to note Plavsic’s take on Celtic’s Scottish players, because two of them in Christie and McGregor were nowhere near what they should be capable of producing on that stage.

Where he’s spot on, however, is in his assessment of Griffiths. If anything was a message for Steve Clarke and Neil Lennon then it’s this appraisal from an opponent who isn’t familiar with the Celtic frontman.

Even though Plavsic has hardly seen much of Celtic, he only needed a short cameo from Griff to know what he’s all about. And that’s what the Scotland international does – he strikes fear into the opposition.

Sparta Prague’s Srdjan Plavsic (Photo by MB Media)

But more importantly, he manages to lift his own team when necessary. Griffiths has managed to raise the tempo for Celtic almost single-handedly in games against St Johnstone, Aberdeen, and Prague respectively. Even if we didn’t win all three, there was a marked improvement when he came onto the pitch.

Looking back on that Prague defeat, Lennon will know he made several errors with his team selection. Then again, it’s easy to say that post-match. Not many, myself included, would’ve been complaining when Odsonne Edouard was jotted down as the starting striker.

Regardless, hopefully Griff can give his season the boost it needs on Thursday. Shooting down Serbia will go a long way to providing him with further opportunities at both club and international level.