CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Match ban is a ‘lesson learned’ for Griffiths, says Rodgers

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths.
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths.

Brendan Rodgers believes a potential one-match Uefa ban is a “lesson learned” for Leigh Griffiths and has warned him his claims on the first choice striker berth at Celtic could be harmed by failure to exercise greater self control.

Uefa have charged Griffiths with provoking spectators at the end of last Friday’s Champions League qualifier against Linfield in Belfast when he tied a Celtic scarf to one of the goalposts at Windsor Park.

Celtic’s 2-0 win in the first leg of the second qualifying round tie was marred by incidents of bottles and coins being thrown at Griffiths during the match. The 26-year-old Scotland international was controversially booked by Spanish referee Alejandro Hernandez for time-wasting when he stopped to pick up one of the missiles which landed close to him.

Rodgers remains critical of the decision to caution Griffiths, one of five yellow cards received by Celtic in the match which incurs an automatic Uefa charge of improper conduct of the team. Both cases will be heard by Uefa on Thursday, along with two charges against Linfield for the crowd disorder.

Griffiths, who could miss Tuesday’s second leg against the Northern Ireland champions because of a calf injury, is facing the possibility of a one-match suspension which would rule him out of the first leg of Celtic’s projected third qualifying round tie against Rosenborg or Dundalk next week.

“It’s a lesson learned for him,” said Rodgers. “It could mean he misses a Champions League qualification game which is a huge game for the club and a huge game for Leigh, considering he wants to be available to play all the time.

“For tying a scarf round a post, that’s ultimately what it is.

“I don’t think Leigh should have got the yellow card for that incident, what happened after that is you need to use your common sense.”

Rodgers remains fully supportive of Griffiths but describes him as one of his “higher maintenance” squad members.

“Some players will come in here in pre-season and you shake their hand, and then you shake their hand again on the way out at the end of the season - they are super low maintenance, there is no drama, there is no problem,” added Rodgers.

“There are other players who are higher maintenance. What I have learned as a manager is that the starting point is different for every player and you have to judge the individual player.

“I really like Leigh. He is a really good boy. He has issues and challenges, professionally and personally, but I have found him a really good man who wants to play football and score goals.”