WHATEVER Leigh Griffiths goes on to achieve at Celtic is up to him.
If you are asking me if he deserves his chance, then it is a huge yes, but the first question mark is over how many games he is going to get. Obviously Neil Lennon signed him so will give him every opportunity but you just have to look at Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde and even Anthony Stokes to realise you can quickly be out of the team there.
Having said that, there should really be no problem domestically. I worked with him at Dundee and while I wondered if he could step up to somewhere like Hibernian, last season he proved me so wrong. I still say he could score more "ordinary" goals but it is a huge credit to him that he could still end up with the 28 he did get without getting into the box more regularly.
Loading article content
But if you are asking me about whether he could cut it in the Champions League I would have to say I have my doubts. Just like a lot of Celtic supporters probably have.
Celtic fans are desperate for a new Gary Hooper, but in some ways Griffiths could end up more like a long-term replacement for Georgios Samaras, the man who he came on for against Aberdeen yesterday. He is a drifter, not a guy who plays in the penalty box and gets tap-ins. Most of his goals are strikes, or when he picks the ball up in a wide areas and smashes it in - not forgetting free-kicks and penalties.
While you saw glimpses that he could bring more penalty box prowess to his game at Hibs, his instincts are different and it is hard to change them now. Instead, he spins into channels, picks it up in areas where he won't get kicked, then runs at you one-on-one and gets you goals from there.
Having said that, I can tell you exactly where he will want to play, and that is right up front. I have spoken about this before in these pages, but I made one of the worst mistakes ever when we were working together at Dundee when I suggested I could see a bit of Neil McCann in the way he played. Coming from me, that was a huge compliment, because I loved playing with Neil, and felt Leigh was also versatile enough to play that left wing role. But he didn't want to know, spat the dummy out the pram and phoned his agent, who had a go at me about it.
That is why I say there is a chance he will end up playing in a similar role to Samaras but in terms of his temperament I think he is definitely at the right club. I remember seeing Anthony Stokes in his latter days at Hibs and I didn't like his attitude. Whereas Celtic is a big enough club where he knows he can't get away with an attitude, or the feeling that he could have done more.
Leigh has made some wrong choices in life but he is not a bad kid and he wants to learn. He is very single minded and headstrong but Lennon is the kind of manager who should be good for him.
Playing for Scotland is when you start to look at whether he has got it at the top level. He was very quiet in Croatia although we won the game, and while he doesn't have brilliant game intelligence yet, he does bring an off-the-cuff quality and is ruthless, clinical and one of the best strikers of the ball around. Once he gets a goal at Champions League level he will take it in his stride. But for now, he might still be questioning himself whether he is able to play at this level.
WHEN it comes to events at Dundee this fortnight, I have been in that movie before. What you see is what you get with John "Bomber" Brown. He brought an endeavour, an honesty and a passion, and had the team joint top but even that doesn't give you safety at Dundee. His replacement, Paul Hartley, is a good young manager but this is a test for him, no doubt about that.
No one can argue with his record - he has done it in the old Third Division, Second Division and in the Championship with Alloa, but Dundee is a step up and I think Paul would admit that himself. I will be watching closely to see how he gets on because I know myself that it is a really hard job. It it the kind of job which can make or break you as a manager.
THE hatred in this country absolutely scares me. It might not have been what Neil Lennon had to go through at Tynecastle last Saturday but I have had abuse at games as well, and not from Celtic fans.
It is a scandal what happens in this country; now you can't even go and sit at a game as a neutral when you are playing one of the teams next week. I don't agree with everything he has ever said but Neil is a great lad. When are so many poisonous people from all sides going to realise that?