Leigh Griffiths Made Same Mistake As Me – He Was Wise To Make Contact With Brendan Rodgers The Morning After Firhill, Says John Hartson

LEIGH GRIFFITHS was so wise to make contact with Brendan Rodgers the morning after Firhill.

Far smarter than his petulant communication with him the night before.

>Leigh Griffiths

PA:Press Association >3
Griffiths and Rodgers have exchange of words after the Hoops striker was substituted at Firhill

Leigh’s a good boy and a proven goalscorer.

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But for the sake of his Celtic career he had to be as sharp as he generally is around the penalty box with his desire to express regret over his out of order hissy-fit at being subbed.

I’ve been there.

I know exactly what was going through his mind as he walked off the pitch.

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I watched it all and had a wry smile.

You get so wrapped up in emotion that you forget the most important factor, that it’s all about the team and not YOU.

It took me back to my early years at Celtic — and an explosive Hampden dressing room bust-up with Martin O’Neill.

I got the hook in a League Cup semi-final against Dundee United. I was f****** furious.

I thought ‘How dare he take me off?’

Whenever Martin took a player off he liked the player to shake his hand and then sit behind him in the dugout and accept it. I knew that.

But this one particular game I just wasn’t having it.

I walked across to the tunnel, Stevie Walford chucked across  a tracksuit top, but I threw it back at him and shouted ‘Shove it up your f****** a***’

I carried on down the tunnel, into the Hampden dressing room on my own and I’ve lashed out at a plate of sandwiches.

I completely smashed it and there were bits of the sandwiches all over the walls — and my team-mates’ suits.

Henrik Larsson had a new pair of brogues — well they ended up with bits of tuna and  mayonnaise all over them.


News Group Newspapers Ltd >3
Hartson knew exactly what was going through Griffiths’ mind at Firhill

Chris Sutton had a new tie — it was stained by tomato sauce and pickle.

Then at full-time, I faced the wrath of Martin. We’d reached the final and it should’ve been a joyous scene.

But it wasn’t. Far from it.

Instead, in the full view of everyone I had a 15-minute screaming match with the manager.  Nose to nose we were.

We went hell for leather with each other. People had to get involved to separate us.

It never came to any blows. But it was very close.

He didn’t like my attitude and his killer line to me was that I was thinking only of myself — not the team.

I wasn’t having it, though. I demanded to know why he hadn’t taken someone else off.

It was a slagging match. A proper argument.

Later on the team bus I ruined the atmosphere. Here we were in a final and yet instead of a party atmosphere you could’ve heard a pin drop.

I marred what should’ve been a great night with my attitude.

The next morning, Martin’s trusted assistant John Robertson said to me: ‘You better go and see the boss’.

I replied: ‘I’m not going to see the f****** boss, he’s out of order’.

John eventually said: ‘Big fella, go and see Martin for the sake of your Celtic career’.

At that point the penny dropped. I made the decision to knock on the manager’s door.

>Martin O'Neill

PA:Press Association >3
Hartson had exchange with O’Neill

When I went in to see him he didn’t even want my explanation.

The mere fact I’d gone in to see him was good enough. He knew my intention was to apologise.

As soon as he saw me he said: ‘Get out! I’ve got f*** all to say to you, Get out of my office’.

And that was that. The matter was over.

Martin was, of course, totally correct. The sheer professionalism of the man realised why I was unhappy at coming off. But my reaction was totally wrong.

So viewing Leigh Griffiths act like he did  was like a trip down memory lane for me.

People who have never played the game and don’t understand the football tensions, in and around the dressing room, the verbals, the respect and the team ethic, will never fully get it.

I took John Robertson’s advice and I was so happy that I did.

I don’t know if it was Leigh Griffiths himself who decided what the right course of action was or he’d got a word in his ear like I did back in the day.

But it doesn’t matter.

The bottom line is he put his hands up for it and showed the necessary regret and respect.


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Source : https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/sport/football/1032556/leigh-griffiths-made-same-mistake-as-me-he-was-wise-to-make-contact-with-brendan-rodgers-the-morning-after-firhill-says-john-hartson/

Leigh Griffiths made same mistake as me – he was wise to make contact with Brendan Rodgers the morning after Firhill, says John Hartson
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