CHRIS SUTTON has branded Leigh Griffiths ‘unprofessional’ after the striker returned to Lennoxtown out-of-shape. The harsh criticism was levelled to the 28-year-old in Sutton’s Daily Record column but not only did the tough-talking Sutton say that he expects Lennon to get the best out of Griffiths again, he also believes that this can act as an opportunity for Patryk Klimala and Yakoun Issouf Bayo.
Celtic will play OGC Nice, Olympique Lyonnaise and Paris Saint-Germain in a mini pre-season tournament in Lyon. However, Griffiths will not be present after Neil Lennon decided that the striker would benefit from time on his own at Lennoxtown.
Sutton believes that there should be no excuses on Griffiths’ part, which is why Lennon has taken the drastic move to exclude him from the club’s pre-season trip.
“Everyone knows the hard yards you need to go through in lockdown – there are no excuses. It was vital to maintain focus and stay on top of fitness. The players would all have had programmes.
“It’s just stupid. Neil Lennon will feel let down. If I was a team-mate I’d feel hacked off.
“Griffiths had a huge part in Celtic winning the title. He got a lot of credit the way he came back from his problems and rightly so.
“To have fitness issues at this stage though is just unprofessional.”
Bayo and Klimala are yet to make an impact in Glasgow following their moves to the club due to the form of Griffiths and Edouard. Now, Sutton believes that the pair can use Griffiths’ absence to their advantage as they hope to get themselves involved with first team affairs.
“He has to work his backside off. Griffiths has to be careful. Celtic spent a lot of money on Patryk Klimala and at some point he will get opportunities.
“There is Vakoun Bayo there as well. If there are doubts about the fitness of Griffiths though, Lennon will be thinking about buying a striker.”
It would be handy for the pair to get game time as we are well aware of Griffiths’ deadliness in front of goal; however, Klimala and Bayo remain untested and ahead of a vital season, which will be gruelling, Neil Lennon needs to know he can rely on his squad players as much as his starting XI.