NEIL LENNON, the Celtic manager, has revealed the club continues to stand by Leigh Griffiths as he awaits the outcome of an investigation into allegations of racist behaviour.
Griffiths, a January arrival from Wolverhampton Wanderers, will face a Scottish Football Association tribunal on Thursday to answer charges that he sang a racist song about Rudi Skacel, the former Hearts player, in a pub ahead of last month's Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle. Police Scotland and Celtic have also launched their own investigations into the incident.
Lennon, though, revealed that Griffiths will continue to be available for selection and could face Motherwell at Fir Park this lunchtime. "It's a police investigation and we've got our own club investigation, too," said Lennon. "They will run parallel and we'll be guided by the police. I can't really comment much more. The kid has a few issues that we need to attend to and we will do.
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"As far as his football goes there's a lot more to come from him. But his life away from football needs to be addressed. We'll do anything we can to help him with that."
Lennon revealed he and the player had a discussion about what is expected of him, but added that there was only so much control over a player the club could have.
"I had a full, frank and open chat with him a few weeks ago and he knows we and I will be fully supportive of him to get these things right but it's down to Leigh to want to get them right and I think he does," added Lennon. "I think he's a bit daft but there are other issues that have a serious connotation to them and are obviously very private and personal. We'll help him as much as we can. I think he's very disappointed and upset.
"The head has been down for a week or so. It's probably been a chastening experience for him in some ways as well. It's part of his education as it were. I can help him from my experiences of being here.
"But it's difficult to interfere as you end up playing God with them sometimes. You can't run their life for them away from the park. But you have to make them aware from their responsibilities. I think if he didn't know what it was like to be in Glasgow he certainly does now."
Lennon was annoyed that Griffiths had chosen to sit in with the Hibernian supporters at the derby match and hoped he would conduct himself in a more low-key fashion in future.
"I didn't know he was going. I'd much prefer if he was sitting in a [hospitality] box. I don't want him in with other supporters. I'd say that to any of my players. It can be volatile no matter where you go. I know that from my own experience.
"I'm not saying he's loud-mouthed or gregarious. In fact, his personality is actually very quiet but obviously he gets in with a different crowd and maybe gets influenced by them. He needs to learn to stay away from that.
"It's not a generalisation but I've come across a lot of players I've played with or managed who've had varying issues. You have to take each individual's problems on their merits and Leigh is no different from the rest. We will manage him and get him on the straight and narrow. He's not a bad boy. He's all right - just a bit easily influenced. Reactive rather than able to take a step back but that comes with maturity as well."