MICHAEL Stewart has advised Leigh Griffiths to think twice the next time he attends a match as a spectator after the Celtic striker’s high-profile role while watching Sunday’s Edinburgh derby.
Stewart, who played for both Hearts and Hibs, is well aware of the tribal passions stoked up by Edinburgh derbies. The former midfielder’s advice to Griffiths is that he needs to wise up if he wants to support Hibs against Hearts in future.
The Celtic striker’s antics as he supported former club Hibs in the 2-0 derby defeat by Hearts have attracted much comment. Griffiths himself is waiting to hear how manager Neil Lennon viewed his performance, which included singing a song mocking Hearts while standing on a chair in a pub. Stewart, who grew up a Hearts fan, has gone to watch games at Tynecastle on many occasions, but has always endeavoured to keep a low profile.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong in it per se,” said Stewart, with reference to a player who plays for another club cheering on the team he supports. “But when you start singing songs – I think you have to be a bit cuter and wiser. You need to know that people will be filming these things, especially in modern society when you have all this social media. You have to realise that. I don’t see a huge issue with him going to watch his old club playing, but I think you have to be a bit smarter and cuter about it, and not attract too much attention to yourself while doing it.”
Stewart recalled an episode when Manchester United players Rio Ferdinand and John O’Shea watched an FA Cup tie against Liverpool in 2006 from the away end at Anfield.
“They were obviously still Man United players but they went to Anfield to watch the game and kept their heads down and their hoods up,” said Stewart, who started his career at the Old Trafford club.
“I remember ‘Sheaysy’ telling me that, as they walked towards the ground, a couple of coppers walked over to them and were shouting at them, saying ‘get your hoods down!’ And he was like: ‘I am not taking my hood down!’ They were trying not to attract attention to themselves and inadvertently they did.
“There is not an issue about going to watch your old club,” added Stewart. “You just have to be a little bit smarter in the way you do it.”