John Hartson: Celtic 26-year-old should go to Rodgers and demand to play v Rangers
By Dominic Toner
John Hartson believes Celtic forward Leigh Griffiths should be pleading with manager Brendan Rodgers to start against Rangers.
The 26-year-old has endured a frustrating season and has been unable to cement his position in the starting line-up.
The Bhoys have had summer signing Moussa Dembele as their frontline striker and he has scored a remarkable 32 goals in 49 appearanes.
Meanwhile, Griffiths has had to put up with a more supporting role and is yet to complete 90 minutes in the league during 2017, but injuries have played a part in that.
Celtic face Old Firm rivals Rangers on Sunday in the Scottish Cup semi-final, with Aberdeen waiting in the final for the winners.
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Hartson has revealed he would start Griffiths against the Gers, despite the form of Dembele this season.
“Moussa Dembele has clearly had a very good debut season at Celtic,” Hartson wrote in the Scottish Sun. “But if I was Leigh Griffiths I’d have compiled a list of all his weaknesses as a striker.
“I’d then be going to Brendan Rodgers’ office and chapping on his door. ‘Gaffer, can I have a word?’ I’d be saying. ‘I need to talk to you about why I think I should be playing against Rangers on Sunday.’”
He added: “Don’t get me wrong, it wouldn’t be a very long list Leigh would be drafting. But the wee man Griffiths is a player I like a lot and I can’t help feel sympathy for the way this campaign has gone for him. Truth be told, I’d start him against Rangers at Hampden.”
Griffiths has made just 31 appearances so far this season, but still managed to chip in with 14 goals.
The Scotland international was Celtic’s talisman last season when they won the league title, scoring a remarkable 40 goals in 51 appearances across all competitions.
Rodgers has preferred Dembele as his central striker this season and Griffiths may have to put up with the bench against Rangers.