FORMER Scotland international midfielder Robert Snodgrass has joined the ranks who support Leigh Griffiths’ bid to return to the international fold.
The West Ham star recently retired from the Scotland set-up, but he is backing his ex-Livingston team-mate to carry on scoring at the highest level.
Snodgrass believes the 29-year-old comeback Celtic striker is now ready to join forces with Steve Clarke to help push the nation through to their first finals in 22 agonising years.
Griffiths, who missed the chunk of a year due to personal issues, has come blasting back since the turn of the year and claimed eight goals, including a hat-trick in the champions’ 5-0 success over St Mirren at the weekend.
Snodgrass, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Griff did take a bit of stick from some people and some of it clearly got to him. But that’s only natural.
“To be honest, the way he was as a young lad is totally different from the way he is now. He’s grown up – he’s learned a few tough lessons in his life – and he is a dad. Most of all, he’s just a quiet boy who loves playing football.
STRIKE ONE…Leigh Griffiths gets in ahead of the St Mirren defence to claim the opening goal.
STRIKE TWO…Leigh Griffiths’ achievement for the second goal lights up Celtic Park.
STRIKE THREE…Leigh Griffiths is in Paradise after his first hat-trick in just over four years.
“He got a lot of bad press in his younger days and got involved in different things that he probably shouldn’t have done.
“But it does feel sometimes in the football industry as if people like to focus on the negatives rather than on the positives. That’s certainly been the case with Leigh and when it gets too much it can end up giving the lad a lack of confidence.
“You don’t become a bad player overnight. He lost his way, but that was the result of a mixture of different things from people talking about him, to his private life and various injuries. It doesn’t help social media has given everyone a platform to absolutely destroy people, either. You’ve no idea how hard that can be.
“But Leigh has had to get through it all and be patient for his chance because Celtic have a striker in Edouard who has been top level.
“But what everyone needs to remember – probably including Leigh himself – is that his record for Celtic has been incredible.
“A lot of people need to give him a lot more credit than he actually gets.”
Neil Lennon admitted Griffiths had shot down his critics with his performances in 2020 as he has dovetailed superbly with Odsonne Edouard to present a devastating double-act.
Ibrox on Sunday could be the next venue for the Hoops pair to show their qualities.
That’s the bad news for Steven Gerrard’s defenders.