CHRIS SUTTON has slammed Leigh Griffiths for his drop in fitness levels that forced Neil lennon to axe him from the three-game trip to France.

The 29-year-old hitman was omitted from the squad for the friendlies against Nice on Thursday, Lyon on Saturday and Paris Saint-Germain a week tomorrow, as CQN reported yesterday.

Former Hoops hitman Sutton accused Griffiths of letting down his manager with his lack of professionalism.

Lennon left the Scotland international at home to work on his condition at Lennoxtown as the rest of his team-mates gear up for the tilt at 10 in a row across the channel.

Sutton, speaking in the Daily Record, said: “Everyone knows the hard yards you need to go through in lockdown – there are no excuses. It was vital to maintain focus and stay on top of fitness.

“The players would all have had programmes.

“It’s just stupid. Neil Lennon will feel let down. If I was a team-mate, I’d feel hacked off.

“Griffiths had a huge part in Celtic winning the title. He got a lot of credit the way he came back from his problems – and rightly so.

SILVERWARE SMILES…Leigh Griffiths holds the ninth successive title trophy.

“To have fitness issues at this stage though is just unprofessional.”

Sutton, however, backed ex-Hoops colleague to once again get the best out of the forward whose career has stuttered over the past two years with personal issues, form and lack of confidence.

He added: “It wouldn’t surprise me if he managed to get Griffiths back to a level again. A lot of that will now be down to him.

“He has to work his backside off. Griffiths has to be careful. Celtic spent a lot of money on Patryk Klimala and at some point he will get opportunities.

“There is Vakoun Bayo there, as well. If there are doubts about the fitness of Griffiths, though, Lennon will be thinking about buying a striker.”

Griffiths brough down the curtain on the season with a spectacular hat-trick in the 5-0 Premiership triumph over St Mirren at Parkhead on March 7.

The game went into cold storage a few days later due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The hitman struck eight goals in 13 appearances in 2020 after claiming only three in the first past of the campaign.

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