Sutton and Stewart get stuck into interesting debate on Celtic man Leigh Griffiths

By David Walton

August 15, 2021

Chris Sutton and Michael Stewart got stuck into an interesting discussion surrounding Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths this afternoon.

Celtic have had seven competitive fixtures so far this season. Griffiths has yet to feature in any of them. The Scotland international has had his off-field issues to deal with that disrupted his pre-season, before a calf injury set him back further.

However, Ange Postecoglou was happy to hand the centre-forward a new one-year extension when he arrived earlier this summer. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, it’s clear the manager sees a useful player in there.

And today, both Sutton and Stewart got stuck into an interesting debate on whether Celtic have a use for the striker. Speaking this afternoon on Premier Sports [Premier Sports 1, 15/08, 17:05], the two got into a ding-dong on the Celtic man:

Stewart: “Griffiths is still here and he’s someone I think you can still get games out of.”

Sutton: “You can’t rely on Griffiths.”

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Stewart: “But you’re not relying on him. You’re talking about loading of games.

Sutton: “You’re talking about trust. You’re talking about trying to win a title, winning trophies. You can’t chuck him in if he’s not ready. There are question marks over Griffiths”

Stewart: “I disagree in regards to I think there are games, particularly here, where you can get Leigh Griffiths into the side and he’ll get you goals.

Sutton: “Celtic aren’t in a position to take anybody lightly. I think that’s what Ange was putting forward before the game.”

Stewart: “This is what you would regard as a risk. I don’t regard it as a risk. I think Leigh Griffiths is capable of having an impact on certain games.

Sutton: “He hasn’t been capable the last couple of seasons.”

Stewart: “Last season I think we saw from a number of people that they weren’t able to have an impact. There are other reasons for that. There is no doubt that Griffiths has his issues, but I think in certain games at home, you can take the load off of others and give him game-time.”

Celtic would be playing a risky game by putting faith in Leigh Griffiths

At this moment in time, it’s extremely difficult to give Griffiths a role of any real importance at Celtic Park. You have to question whether, if Ange had the opportunity again, would he still offer Griffiths the new contract? That would certainly be an intriguing one.

But the fact is the deal has been signed. He’s here until at least the end of the 2021/22 campaign. And all eyes will therefore be on whether he can play any sort of impact this summer.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Of course, it can’t be forgotten that Griffiths was indeed back on the bench today. He was an unused substitute as Albian Ajeti was given the call to come on ahead of him. But even so, Postecoglou had some positive words for him pre-match.

The next few weeks are going to be defining ones for Griffiths. This will give us a key indication of just where he’ll be fitting into Postecoglou’s squad. At the moment, he’s striker number four. That’s not what Celtic would’ve wanted when he was handed his new deal and not what Griffiths would’ve liked either.

But it is what it is. So far, he’s yet to play a minute of competitive action this season. Whether there are useful games to bring him into is down to the manager to decide. It’s not a question of ability and it never has been. It’s to do with mental attitude and application.

At the moment, things don’t look bright for Griffiths with regards to his Celtic career. How Postecoglou uses him over the hectic Hoops schedule will determine just how valuable or invaluable he sees him in the long-term.

In other news, Michael Stewart talks up Tom Rogic display as Celtic defeat Hearts

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