Tuesday 18 June 2019

Celtic give Griffiths time off over personal 'issues'

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Roddy Forsyth

Striker Leigh Griffiths will not play for Celtic for the foreseeable future while he grapples with off-the-field issues including, it is understood, a gambling problem.

At his press conference ahead of Celtic's Europa League home clash with Red Bull Salzburg tonight, Brendan Rodgers was asked about the rumours linking the 28-year-old Scotland international with gambling, but the manager was at pains to stress that the player has "a number of issues" and that the club have asked for professional help to chart a path to recovery.

The first indication that Griffiths was nearing a personal crisis came when he withdrew from the Scotland squad to play in a Nations League tie in Israel and cited a desire to work on his fitness as the cause, but he has missed other matches for club and country.

Rodgers, whose side need a point tonight to join Salzburg in the knockout phase, said: "Leigh won't be involved. Leigh is coming out of football for a little while. He needs professional help with issues which have been ongoing with him for quite some time. As a club we will look to do everything we can to help with that. There is no period set really, we will see how it goes.

"Most important is that he is the father of five children and it's just giving him enough time to make himself right. Football is irrelevant if he is struggling in other areas."

Rangers are also in Europa League action tonight. They travel to Rapid Vienna in search of the win that will see them go through to the knockout rounds.


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