LEIGH Griffiths is at it again.
The talented but troubled Celtic and Scotland striker has been caught on camera chanting racist abuse about Rudi Skacel, the Czech footballer and Heart of Midlothian fans’ favourite.
The video contains some strong language (I’ll leave it off of the blog and you can find it yourself), with the Parkhead starlet stirring up a chorus of “Rudi Skacael is a f*****g refugee” in the Roseburn Bar in Edinburgh before the Edinburgh derby.
Griffiths was also to be seen singing songs celebrating Hearts’ relegation.
This isn’t the first time the £800,000 striker has found himself at the centre of a racist scandal. The Scotland international was arrested and charged over a remark on Twitter in February.
The controversies don’t stop there. In January 2013 Griffiths was arrested before being released after an hour for shoplifting from Tesco. Then in June he was arrested for a brawl with a random man in Edinburgh’s city centre.
Being a footballer with a fiery personality and aggression on the pitch matched is one thing. Taking that attitude beyond the stadium and training ground is a whole other matter. If Griffiths wants to develop into the talent we, and I believe he, thinks he can be then he will have to sort his lifestyle out.
He’s had one too many strikes. Incidents involving racism really are disturbing and we have to hope Griffiths was, as I remarked last week with journalist and Hibs fan Simon Pia, just being a ‘dafty’. I’d like to believe there isn’t anything insidious or underlying in these incidents.
Nonetheless, his recklessness combined with his stupidity around his other arrests suggests we have a problem on our hands.
One pub onlooker told the Daily Record: “Even though there were a few people filming him on mobile phones, he just carried on jumping up and down and singing.
“He was enjoying himself – and the attention he was attracting.”
Therein lies the problem. As a coach myself – of 13 and 14 year old boys, right enough – I would expect to see this behaviour. Not of someone expected to be professional and a role model. Griffiths can’t simply go looking for attention by being an idiot. Instead, win people’s attention on the park (and here’s a tip pal – that attention will last longer).
I’m not taking some snobby, moral high ground here. I’m just saying it as it is. Leigh Griffiths needs to wise up and quit the teenage antics. He’s 23.
Here we have a potential all-round striker who can compete for Scotland at international level and for Celtic on the European stage acting like nothing short of an idiot on numerous occasions.
Griffiths has averaged almost a goal every two games at almost every club he has played with and has maintained this form with Celtic. It would be a shame to see this potential fade away into a bleak Parkhead side street.
Despite being 23 he’s now treading a tightrope with the SFA and with Celtic, as evidenced by Neil Lennon’s comments on whether Griffiths was smart enough to change: “He has to, otherwise his career at Celtic won’t be as long as he maybe wants it to be.”
That, on top of other warnings from Celtic and the SFA, should show Griffiths’ he;s on his last chance.
Leigh: grow up or get lost. We don’t want another wasted talent in this country, and we don’t want a toxic environment being created.
You’re too good to let us down.
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