Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has blamed the defensive frailties of the team for his side’s exit from the UEFA Champions League.
AEK Athens progressed through to the play-off round of the competition against the Hoops last week, winning 2-1 in Greece after a 1-1 draw at Celtic Park.
Griffiths has left no-one in any doubt about what area of the team he considers to have been the cause of the disappointment.
As quoted in The Daily Record on Sunday, the 28-year-old said:
AEK had two or three shots. We dominated going forward and on another night we’d have scored three or four. But it’s about defending. And if we can’t do that properly we don’t deserve to be in the Champions League.
If we can’t defend simple crosses and do what we’ve done for the past two years we don’t deserve to be there.
It was two basic errors which meant we conceded two goals. If we defend properly we’d have been in the playoff.
It’s clear that the Scotland international isn’t exactly delighted with the state of the Celtic defence right now, with errors from the likes of Mikael Lustig, Jack Hendry and Kristoffer Ajer all contributing to soft opposition goals.
In a way it’s refreshing to hear one of the Celtic players speak so candidly about the current situation at the club. Too often all we get is PR soundbites and club-controlled messages.
Hopefully though Griffiths isn’t taking things for granted in attack, he did miss a big chance in Greece after all and his goal against Partick Thistle was only his second since January.
It was great to see him return to scoring form and with Odsonne Edouard injured right now, he’ll be needed regularly to help support Moussa Dembele.
What do you make of Leigh Griffiths comments? Is he right to criticise Celtic’s defence publicly? Let us know in the comments below…