CELTIC’S fourth and final game of their stay in Slovenia was overshadowed by striker Leigh Griffiths being spat on by Maribor’s Erik Janza during the so-called friendly.

The left-back, in fact, seemed to spit more than once on Griffiths, which angered the Celtic players and backroom staff, with manager Brendan Rodgers having harsh words with the Slovenian outfit’s player at the end of the first half.

“The full back spat at Leigh,” said Rodgers, who was clearly not happy at all, following the 0-0 draw. “A disgrace it was, a disgraceful act.

“Leigh challenged for the ball, used his body and strength and the full-back turned and spat at him. He shouldn’t have been on the field.

“The referee didn’t see it. I spoke to him at half time and then again afterwards. But he didn’t see it, and neither did the linesmen.

“These are competitive games but friendly by nature. That shouldn’t happen. Not in any game, least of all a friendly. I haven’t seen the Maribor manager to talk to him about it.”

As to the football itself, Rodgers has been delighted with the way his squad is shaping up ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps in Gibraltar.

“I was pleased with the performance,” said Rodgers. “We’ve been out here 20 days and the players have been working on their football fitness. The key thing is to ensure our defensive organisation is spot on. We’ve got a lot of areas to work on; however, we have played four games and only one goal has been conceded from open play.

“It is a unique situation. The team have been together for under three weeks, they are going into a Champions League qualifier and a new manager has come in. The key is how we are organised and how we press the ball.

“We need to be much better with the football. That will come over time. But overall we showed good fitness levels and, into the second half, we were dynamic. We were just missing that final touch.”

Rodgers won’t have long to wait before his first competitive match as Celtic manager.

“I have an idea for a team for Tuesday. I’ve been trying to assess players. I’m really looking forward to it and I know the team are. We’ve got a few days to go.”

Stefan Johansen was taken off early in the game with an ankle knock, but he is expected to recover, although he still might miss the match in Gibraltar.

Rodgers said: “Stefan is fine. We’re sending him for a scan in the morning as a precaution. He felt his ankle in the warm-up. He felt nothing in training yesterday and we’ll see how he is in the morning.”

Tiago Ilori, a defender with Liverpool, has been linked with a move to Celtic Park but no deal is expected to happen before next week.

The match itself was not a classic. Both Celtic and Maribor have European matches next week and it was clear, and also understandable, that neither set of players was prepared to risk injury or even tiredness. It was a fitness exercise, nothing else.

In saying that, Celtic should have scored on 10 minutes when a Ryan Christie shot was saved by Maribor keeper Jasmin Handanovic.

The ball kindly fell into the path of Johansen who from 10 feet and the whole goal to aim at got his finish very wrong.

Scott Brown was booked and booed for a high tackle on Aleks Pihler on the half- hour mark, but the Celtic captain was one who at least put his foot into a tackle or two.

Christie, who by all accounts has caught the eye of Rodgers over the past fortnight, brought some much needed entertainment to the evening on 50 minutes when he attempted to dribble past the entire Maribor defence before running out of space.

And then Callum McGregor had an attempt on target, his shot from the edge of the area easily dealt with by Handanovic.

Celtic came close to an opener on the hour when a good run from Saidy Janko ended with the right-back sending in a low cross which Moussa Dembele hit first time straight at the goalkeeper.

Rodgers then made nine changes and one of them, Patrick Roberts, saw a shot go narrowly wide on 70 minutes.

That was the only bit of action until the final minutes when Tom Rogic skipped past a couple of tackles and was denied by a good save.

The Australian, as he has done previously, livened up proceedings when he was introduced as a substitute.