Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths apologises to Brendan Rodgers for Firhill reaction

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Celtic's Leigh Griffiths unhappy at being substitute

Brendan Rodgers says striker Leigh Griffiths has apologised for his angry reaction to being substituted in Celtic's win over Partick Thistle.

Griffiths had already scored from the penalty spot before being replaced after 63 minutes of Thursday's 5-0 win.

"I spoke to him this morning at length," said manager Rodgers. "He apologised sincerely for his reaction.

"But we draw a line under it now and we'll move on and he'll start and be ready for Hearts on Sunday."

Scotland international Griffiths has found himself second choice behind summer signing Moussa Dembele for much of the season.

But he has scored three times in four games since Dembele picked up an injury to take his total for the season to 17 from 40 appearances.

'Thought about himself rather than the team'

"It's been frustrating for him this season," said Rodgers. "He's had a multitude of injuries, sick, not able to train as much as he would like and then to see the team doing so well and him not maybe playing as much as he would like.

"If I'm sitting in his shoes, I understand the frustration and he probably thought he was brought off because he was playing bad and it was totally the opposite.

"I thought he was excellent last night.

"Any time he has played, he's been excellent, but last night I wanted to ensure, as he's the only fit striker at the club, we protect him."

Immediately after the game, Rodgers said it had been a moment where Griffiths "thought about himself rather than the team".

While the manager was understanding of Griffiths' reaction, he pointed out on Friday that "at the same time, it's not something we tolerate either".

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths and manager Brendan Rodgers
"It's been frustrating for him this season," Rodgers said of Griffiths

"It is very important that we are very much a collective and everything stays in-house," said Rodgers.

"The behaviour of the group and the mentality of the group is absolutely critical and it is a huge part of why we've had a very good season up until now.

"It was not the right reaction. It's not one that I expect or, more importantly, the rest of his team-mates expect, but I understand it and have empathy for him."

Rodgers also stressed that Griffiths' reaction had not endangered the former Hibernian and Wolves striker's future with the Scottish champions.

"He is a really good fella," the manager added. "He's a good boy and a massive part of what I'm doing here.

"This is a boy I've go a lot of time for. I want to give him time."

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