SOME footballers need an arm around their shoulder and others a boot up the backside.

Yesterday, Brendan Rodgers gave Leigh Griffiths both at the same time.

Looking back over the 12 months and a bit since he was appointed Celtic manager, it was difficult to recall Rodgers speaking at length and with such passion about just one of his players.

That Griffiths is in trouble again, this time for tying a scarf to the Windsor Park goal, earned him a mild rebuke in public – the words may well have been harsher behind closed doors – but the Northern Irishman made it clear that while there are others in his squad who cause him far less anguish, few are as talented as the most natural finisher at Celtic Park.

Read more: Neil Cameron: Why are UEFA tied up in knots over scarf stunt and A4 attack?

And don’t we all love a devil of a footballer.

“I cannot see Leigh ever doing anything that would make me push him out,” said Rodgers in a way that you knew he meant what he said.

“I was surprised by the booking last Friday. It’s a lesson learned for him because it could mean that he misses a Champions League qualification game, which is a huge game for the club, and it’s a huge game for him considering he wants to be available and play all the time.

“This is not a team you want to be out of.”

Griffiths has had problems with fitness, there have been a few off the field scrapes, there was the racist song about Rudi Skacel a while back, something which has not been forgotten about, and there was his red mist moment when substituted towards the end of the season.

Still, the lad can score goals has a fan in his manager, which is what really counts.

“Some players will come in here for pre-season and you shake their hand and then you shake their hand on the way back out again at the end of the season,” said Rodgers.

Read more: Neil Cameron: Why are UEFA tied up in knots over scarf stunt and A4 attack?

“They are super low maintenance, there is no drama, no problem. And there are other players who are higher maintenance.

“I think what I have learned and gained experience in as a manager is that the starting point is different for every player. You have to judge the individual player.

“What I think of them personally and professionally would be totally different. I am paid to be the manager of Celtic and that means putting out a winning team, a team that can play the level of football that I want and that is what I look for.

“Personally, I tend to deal with individual players and some give you more issues than others. That is what you are going to get when you have 25 footballers full of testosterone and they have different levels of control.

“I really like Leigh. There have been so many instances and last season I kept hearing that he was on his way on…Christ, everyone makes mistakes and will have their wee issues.

“If it gets to the point where it is disruptive to what I am doing and ultimately to what the team’s ambition is then I would cut straight away, but it is never that.

Read more: Neil Cameron: Why are UEFA tied up in knots over scarf stunt and A4 attack?

“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.”

Griffiths is actually a doubt for tonight’s match against Linfield which in all honesty should be a procession for Celtic and so in this case he won’t be missed.

“Leigh loves it and I love having him here,” said Rodgers. “I am always going to need at least two top strikers here. Of course, Leigh wants to play so you have to be available and availability comes from looking after yourself.

“He is a remarkable talent. He is as good as finisher as you’ll see in terms of how he hits the ball, how he works his positions.

““He became a better player last year. He didn’t get the same goals for many reasons but you see his link-up play and his confidence and we need that in the squad.

“I have seen the stories many times but I wouldn’t even bother writing it. He is not one that I would ever want to lose.”

When asked whether last Friday was the last time he tied a scarf around a post, Rodgers said; “We’ll see.” I think we know.