There should be no undue pressure on Leigh Griffiths, despite Provan's comments
Former Hoops star Davie Provan has suggested that Leigh Griffiths owes Celtic because of the time and patience the club have given the player over the last 12 months, writing in his Scottish Sun column.
Griffiths had well documented personal problems last season that required him to take a six-month hiatus from the game.
Coming back into the first-team squad over the summer, he was initially included in Neil Lennon’s team in the early stages of the season.
However, injury and fitness issues took their toll and yesterday the striker made a long-awaited return to action.
For Provan, his return is welcome, but he’s not exactly been complimentary with his comments.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, he said: “Having battled depression himself, Neil Lennon will know what his player has overcome. But let me be brutally honest. Now the striker is fit enough to play, he has to get the finger out.
“Celtic couldn’t have done more to support Griffiths. You can bet he’s had the best medical support money can buy.
“When they could have been tempted to rush him back, they’ve given him breathing space. Now he’s pulling his boots on again, he must give Lennon some payback. Frankly, for all his talent, he has never been a model pro.”
As responsible employers, it was Celtic’s duty to provide Griffiths with that support without expectation.
Just because he’s been given the necessary space to help him off the pitch, there should be no undue pressure put on his shoulders to provide some sort of ‘payback’.
Provan’s comments appear to me to be coming from the wrong perspective. It’s wrong to solely focus on the footballing aspect of Griffiths’ situation.
The Scotland international himself is likely the most eager to get back in amongst the goals and back to peak form, but if he doesn’t, it doesn’t mean it’ll have invalidated his healing process.
It appears that the player has worked exceptionally hard to get to this point. He deserves ongoing patience and support.