LEIGH GRIFFITHS and Chris Sutton have had a heated exchange of words after the former Celtic striker’s blunt criticism of the 30-year-old hitman.

The media pundit tore into the Scotland international and questioned his fitness levels after the Hoops’ 4-1 Europa League Group H flop against Sparta Prague at Parkhead on Thursday night.

Griffiths started the game on the substitutes’ bench before coming on in the 60th minute to take over from Mohamed Elyounoussi. He threw the team a lifeline with a strike to make it 2-1 five minutes later, but sloppy defending allowed the Czechs to cement their remarkable victory.

The player has started only one game in a crucial campaign and that has brought some stinging comments from the one-time Parkhead hero. They have now exchanged views and Sutton insists he stands by every word.

Griffiths took exception to the remarks and sought out the BT Sport match analyst after one of the worst European results in the club’s history.

Sutton, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Let’s get one thing straight immediately. It was a private conversation.

“I will not divulge exact details. That’s the wrong thing to do and I, for one, will not be doing so.

“The one thing I will say is that I understand his frustration. I totally get that, but he has no right to take it out on me.

“Ultimately, Leigh can say what he likes. He has a right to express an opinion just as I have.

“I’ll stand by what I said. There’s a reason why he can’t last 90 minutes and has to come on in little cameos. Because he’s not fit.”

Sutton added: “No-one is disputing he’s a talented player. If people actually listened to what I said about him, I said he was a brilliant player and a brilliant finisher. I paid him compliments.

“Look at the goal he scored. His instincts are incredible. But the obvious point is that he couldn’t be bothered to get fit for a pre-season tour.

“The point is you have a fit Leigh Griffiths in the team replicating his form of the second half of last season who can last a game, it’s a massive asset.

“The fact he isn’t fit enough is not good enough. He’s not fit enough. He’s overweight.

“He’s frustrated, but it’s not me who didn’t get fit. It’s completely unacceptable. I stand by that.”

Griffiths could get the opportunity to make Sutton eat his words if he gets the nod to play against Motherwell at Fir Park tomorrow afternoon.

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