Lennon: No Leigh-bay in summer as Griffiths has place at Celtic

NEIL LENNON has confirmed he expects Leigh Griffiths still to be a Celtic player next season.

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Neil Lennon joined Lisbon Lions Bertie Auld and John Clark, right, to promote next month's return to Portugal
Neil Lennon joined Lisbon Lions Bertie Auld and John Clark, right, to promote next month's return to Portugal

That's a timely vote of confidence as the striker faces SFA charges over the alleged singing of a racist song. The incident is also the subject of ongoing investigations by the police and the Hoops.

Lennon confirmed he stands by the zero-tolerance-on-racism pledge he made two years ago. But the boss does not foresee Griffiths being shown the door.

His hearing at the SFA takes place on Thursday, and after taking counsel from the Crown Office, this process will not be an issue with the Police Scotland investigation into alleged events in a pub in Edinburgh before the Hearts v Hibs game last month.

Griffiths will be in Lennon's squad for today's game at Motherwell, and the manager believes it has to be business as usual while the outcome of all investigations are completed.

He said: "It's a police investigation and we've got our own club investigation, too. They will run parallel, and we'll be guided by the police. I can't really comment much more.

"The kid has a few issues that we need to attend to, and we will do. As far as his football goes, there's a lot more to come from him. But his life away from football needs to be addressed, and we'll do anything we can to help him with that."

However, Lennon believes there is only so much anyone other than the player himself can do.

"It's difficult to interfere as you end up playing God with them sometimes," he explained.

"You can't run their life for them away from the park. But you have to make them aware of their responsibilities."

Lennon has made it clear to Griffiths he does not think it is appropriate he should be sitting in the stand with his mates supporting another club.

He is confident the message is getting through and added: "It's probably been a chastening experience for Leigh in some ways as well.

"The worry is the stuff away from the park, the adverse publicity, obviously. We need to temper that now.

"I had a full, frank and open chat with him a few weeks ago and he knows the club and I will be fully supportive of him to get these things right.

"But, it's down to Leigh to want to get them right, and I think he does.

"He's not a bad boy. He's a bit daft, but there are other issues that have a serious connotation to them and are obviously very private and personal.

"We'll help him as much as we can."

Football

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