Celtic boss Neil Lennon has called on critics of striker Leigh Griffiths to show more “discretion” and “compassion”.
Griffiths has taken time out of the game over the last year to deal with mental health problems but has been back in the first team picture this month with two goals in two games.
Following his strike against Kilmarnock in midweek, Sky Sports pundit and former player Kris Boyd questioned Griffiths’ professionalism, using his appearance record as evidence for his criticism.
The comments prompted Celtic to complain to the broadcaster and Neil Lennon added his voice to the debate, saying that Griffiths should be treated with more understanding and kindness.
“I support the club and I think a little more discretion or tact could be used at times,” he said.
“We want Leigh to flourish now and to be happy. He’s got plenty of mental strength otherwise he wouldn’t have been here at the club for so long.
“I don’t think people these days give (what they are saying) much thought. We live in an age now where there’s no accountability or responsibility at times, whether it’s a mental health issue or another issue.
“It would be nice if they showed him a wee bit more compassion at times. At the end of the day he’s a human being.
“Leigh’s in a good place at the minute, he’s enjoying his football and long may that continue.
“I’ve never been a critic of him. He’s a natural goalscorer and that’s the hardest thing in the game to do.
“If he has his critics – and we all have our critics – then the best thing to do is to go out, play well, score goals. You don’t need to bite back. Just keep it in-house and be proud of yourself.
“I don’t think he’s done anything wrong to warrant controversy at the minute or back-page headlines – other than his goals.
“Yeah he has a bit of fun with his celebrations at times here and there. I’d be the first one to get on top of him if there was an act of ill-discipline or something beyond the pale that was doing damage to the reputation to the club.
“But I don’t see that at the minute and I think it’s unfair.”
Lennon also gave an update on Jeremie Frimpong, who suffered injury after a heavy challenge from Kilmarnock’s Alan Power during the game.
“Jeremie won’t be fit for tomorrow,” he said. “He’s had a scan and we’re just waiting on the results.
“We don’t think it’s as bad as we anticipated. He’s up walking about on it but there’s a bit of soreness. We just don’t know the complete diagnosis yet.
“Jeremie is desperate to get back as quickly as possible. He felt very aggrieved after the game. He’s that type of personality that means we’ll see him sooner rather than later.
“I thought the tackle was overly aggressive and it could easily have been a red card. We’ve seen reds given for that.
“At the time I thought it was a red. Alex Dyer would beg to differ, he thought it was a good challenge and sometimes it’s borderline.”