“You have to be prepared to say it to a person’s face.”
Chris Sutton has recalled his ‘altercation’ with Leigh Griffiths after criticising the Celtic striker’s fitness earlier in the season.
Griffiths was unhappy with how BT Sport pundit Sutton spoke about his performance in Celtic’s 4-1 defeat by Sparta Prague in the Europa League group stages in November.
After being informed of Sutton’s critique following the game, Griffiths confronted the former Celtic striker, leading to a heated exchange between the pair.
Sutton on Griffiths ‘altercation’
“There was an altercation with Leigh Griffiths after a European game,” Sutton told The Athletic.
“There was a difference of opinion, but the bottom line is you have to be prepared to say it to a person’s face.
“It’s important not to take things personally and I’m not trying to upset anyone. If I was a current player, I wouldn’t be on social media and read the comments.
“That can have a reaction and make you feel far more negative about yourself. The most important thing as a player was more what my manager would think.”
After his run-in with Griffiths, Sutton defiantly stood by his remarks about the Scotland international’s fitness, adding that ‘he couldn’t be bothered to get fit’ for a pre-season tour.
“The one thing I will say is that I understand his frustration. I totally get that, but he has no right to take it out on me,” Sutton said via the Daily Record.
“Ultimately, Leigh can say what he likes. He has a right to express an opinion just as I have.
“I’ll stand by what I said. There’s a reason why he can’t last 90 minutes and has to come on in little cameos. Because he’s not fit.
“No-one is disputing he’s a talented player. If people actually listened to what I said about him, I said he was a brilliant player and a brilliant finisher. I paid him compliments.
“He’s not fit enough. He’s overweight”
“Look at the goal he scored. His instincts are incredible. But the obvious point is that he couldn’t be bothered to get fit for a pre-season tour.
“The point is you have a fit Leigh Griffiths in the team replicating his form of the second half of last season who can last a game, it’s a massive asset.
“The fact he isn’t fit enough is not good enough. He’s not fit enough. He’s overweight.
“He’s frustrated, but it’s not me who didn’t get fit. It’s completely unacceptable. I stand by that.”
Sutton is not the only one to have been underwhelmed by Griffiths this season with Celtic boss Neil Lennon having singled the 30-year-old out for criticism in January.
Lennon substituted Griffiths at half-time in Celtic’s 2-1 loss to St Mirren,
“I gave [Albian] Ajeti half an hour today. You could look at Leigh and his contribution as well,” Lennon said via the Glasgow Times.
“It’s not just about the players who have come in it’s about some of the players who have been here for a while and just haven’t performed.”