BBC pundit hails Rodgers over handling of this petulant Celtic player
By Harvey Byrne
BBC Sport pundit and former Rangers striker Steven Thompson has hailed Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers for his handling of striker Leigh Griffiths.
The Hoops faced Partick Thistle at Firhill on Thursday evening and Griffiths opened the scoring before setting up Tom Rogic’s second goal in the 5-0 victory.
However, the Scotsman was also brought off for attacker Scott Sinclair after 63 minutes and he exchanged a few angry words with manager Rodgers.
But, the Northern Irishman has since made up with his forward and Thompson believes Rodgers’ man management in this case is what separates him with the other managers in Scotland and showed his experience of managing at the highest level.
“When I watched it at first, I thought ‘oh that was silly’,” started Thompson speaking on BBC Sport Scotland’s Facebook page on Friday afternoon in regards to Griffiths’ reaction to being brought off.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“There’s a reason why he’s been brought off after 60 minutes and it was to keep him fresh, obviously they’ve got a game on Sunday, so that’s not a lot of time to prepare. Then next weekend’s the big one. The Scottish Cup final, so I can understand why Brendan Rodgers has taken him off 100 per cent.
“As a player you hate getting taken off at the best of times. He was having a great match was Griffiths, scored one, set-up one he was looking good, but you’ve got to just take it on the chin and come off. I thought it was really petulant what he did in front of Brendan Rodgers, but I thought Brendan Rodgers and this is what separates him, handled it as well as it could have been handled, brilliant. Right, okay sit down and after the match when the cameras were on him we saw him have a conversation with the Griffalo in his ear basically just saying to him ‘look it’s not just about you wee man, it’s about Celtic and the greater scheme of things is we want to be unbeaten, we want to win the treble. Buy into it’.
“He did it in such a way that in the end he gave him a week kiss on the cheek, so what I’m trying to tell you Jonathan (Sutherland) is that’s man management from Brendan Rodgers at the very highest level.
“He could have easily just torn strips off Griffiths and cast him aside. However, he knows he’s got to use Griffiths in these next two games to get the end game game, which is unbeaten, maybe the greatest points total, goal total, treble, best season ever for Celtic.”
Griffiths has played a smaller role than usual for Celtic this season due to the signing of young star Moussa Dembele in the summer.
However, with the Frenchman out injured Griffiths has stepped into the team and returned three goals and four assists in four Premiership matches.
Rodgers will now be hoping he continues his form going into the final game against Hearts on Sunday before next weekend’s Scottish Cup final against second placed Aberdeen.
In other Celtic news, Murdo MacLeod believes Rodgers needs to bring in these types of players this summer.