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Griffiths sent 7am text to apologise for Firhill flare-up

by 19/05/2017 19:55:00 0 comments 1 Views
  • Leigh Griffifths apologised to Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers over show of dissent
  • Early morning text message has taken away any lingering friction between pair 
  • Striker was angered by his removal against Part Thistle with the side winning 5-0
  • Rodgers took the measure to protect his only fit out-and-out centre forward 

By John Mcgarry For The Scottish Daily Mail

Published: 00:55 BST, 20 May 2017 | Updated: 00:55 BST, 20 May 2017

Brendan Rodgers has revealed how an apologetic early morning text message from Leigh Griffiths drew a line under their Firhill flare-up.

Irked at being substituted late on in Celtic's 5-0 win against Partick Thistle on Thursday, the striker made his feelings clear to his manager before and after taking a place on the bench.

Rodgers took the measure to protect his only fit out-and-out centre forward in advance of next Saturday's Scottish Cup Final and was visibly annoyed at Griffiths' petulance at the time.

Brendan Rodgers says he has buried the hatchet with striker Leigh Griffiths on Friday
Brendan Rodgers says he has buried the hatchet with striker Leigh Griffiths on Friday

Brendan Rodgers says he has buried the hatchet with striker Leigh Griffiths on Friday

Rodgers poses with his s Manager of the Season award ahead of the Premiership finale
Rodgers poses with his s Manager of the Season award ahead of the Premiership finale

Rodgers poses with his s Manager of the Season award ahead of the Premiership finale

But the Celtic manager, who planted a kiss on the errant hitman's cheek at the final whistle, is adamant a text message from the player on Friday helped remove any lingering friction ahead of the visit of Hearts on Sunday.

'Listen, I'd a message from Leigh this morning at seven o'clock. So he's a really good young guy. I've a lot of time for him,' Rodgers said.

'He just wants to show me and the supporters because he's been out a lot of the time that he can be fit and playing.

'Unfortunately for him, it's my job to protect the team and the whole group – not just one player – in order for us to succeed.

'He understands that totally now. He was apologetic but, like I said to him, it' s gone.

'The message will always be private. We spoke in the office and it's all done now. There's absolutely nothing more.'

Griffiths was irked at being subbed in Celtic's 5-0 win against Partick Thistle on Thursday
Griffiths was irked at being subbed in Celtic's 5-0 win against Partick Thistle on Thursday

Griffiths was irked at being subbed in Celtic's 5-0 win against Partick Thistle on Thursday

Asked if there was any question of Griffiths being dropped for Celtic's final league game of the season on Sunday, Rodgers replied: 'No – not at all.

'He knows there's a line and if I thought there was something more sinister than that I'd cut it straight away. Make no bones about it.

'I don't do that. That doesn't exist. This is about a unified group. Whatever you feel you keep it inside the changing room.

'We always do that. But I also have empathy for if I was sat in his shoes. If I' d his little head I'd be thinking: 'Maybe I didn't play and I'm trying to show my manager something.'

'But make no bones about it, he's very much part of what we are doing here. He' s a wonderfully talented boy, and for me it's about helping him mature.

'This is about having to accept these kind of scenarios because you can't play every minute of every game.'

Rodgers' remarkable first season in Glasgow today sees him named the William Hill manager of the year as voted for by the members of the Scottish Football Writers Association.

He also scoops the prize from Premiership sponsors Ladbrokes, with Scott Brown winning their player of the year award.

Rodgers is targeting an unbeaten season with one game remaining at home to Hearts
Rodgers is targeting an unbeaten season with one game remaining at home to Hearts

Rodgers is targeting an unbeaten season with one game remaining at home to Hearts

Still unbeaten in the league after 37 games, his Celtic side have already won the League Cup and could yet claim the Treble by winning the Scottish Cup against Aberdeen next Saturday.

And with the anniversary of the club's finest hour in Lisbon falling this Thursday, Rodgers already feels his team have played their part in marking the golden anniversary of the European Cup triumph in style.

'I think unbeaten or not it has been a real fitting season from the 16-17 team this season,' he said.

'They have played with a lot of the values that the team created back then; the spirit, the togetherness, the creativity with the football, the never-say-die attitude and the ability to keep going.

'The one thing we can all learn from that era is the humility which is why I always talk about behaviour and respect.

'I speak to John (Clark) on a daily basis and what they gave us back then was inspirational for us.

'If we could do it and go through the season unbeaten then it would be a fitting tribute to them but hopefully the football we have played and our behaviours have also been fitting, too.'

Sportsmail understands Moussa Dembele's chances of playing against Aberdeen are rapidly improving, with the Frenchman now running freely in training after a hamstring injury sustained in the semi-final win over Rangers.

 

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