LEIGH GRIFFITHS has revealed Celtic skipper Scott Brown gave him pelters for not playing on with a broken back.
The Hoops striker received a deliberate knee in a tender place by Slovenian keeper Jan Oblak during Scotland’s vital 1-0 World Cup qualifying win at Hampden last month.
However, midfielder Brown suspected the 26-year-old hitman was play-acting.
Griffiths, who is set to return for tomorrow’s clash with Ross County after three weeks out, revealed his captain only apologised after the Parkhead medical team confirmed he had fractured his back.
Last season’s 40-goal man admitted: “Broony was actually giving me a bit of stick, saying that I was faking injury a bit because of the two chances I had missed earlier.
“I tried to run in the tunnel, jog towards the pitch, but that’s when it was sore. Then when I crumpled to the floor he said: ‘Come on, we need you, we’ve got 45 minutes to go.’
“He was still giving me stick on Monday and Tuesday afterwards, but his face dropped when he found out I’d fractured a bone in my back. He kind of apologised quickly. It’s one of these things that happen.”
Griffiths said he feared the worst when the results of his scan showed the extent of the injury.
He said: “The physio informed me they were going to send me for a scan on the Tuesday. He told me I had a fracture in my back the next day.
“But he said I would be fine as it was a hairline fracture and I’d be back in a couple of weeks.
“It was one of those ones that healed quickly. When you hear the words ‘fracture in your back’ it’s difficult to take, but the physio said I’d be back quicker than if I had a calf injury.
“So, I tried to do my rehab as quickly as possible and thankfully it settled down really quickly.
“It was the fourth bone up from the base of my spine, but the sorest bit was the nerves. The spasms were giving me the most pain.
“For the first five or six days, it was really sore and then it started to ease off.
“With rehab the muscles expand and I managed to do everything as normal as quickly as possible.”
Griffiths’s desperation to return is understandable given how much football he’s missed during this campaign.
Having made 53 appearances on his way to picking up his Player of the Year Awards last term, he’s managed just 34 for club and country outings this season.
Griffiths, who has claimed 14 strikes this term, added: “I’ve hardly played. I will do well to get a medal at this rate!
“It’s been a frustrating season for me, but it’s not about me or any individual, it’s about the squad.
“As a squad, we’ve done really well. I just need to bide my time to get back in the squad, but I want to play as much as I can.
“It’s just about getting back into the team, scoring and playing well.”