Brendan Rodgers: I was protecting Leigh Griffiths

Brendan Rodgers and Leigh Griffiths ended Thursday evening by kissing and making up following an argument when the striker was substituted during the second half of Celtic's 5-0 thumping of Partick Thistle.

Leigh Griffiths exchanges words with manager Brendan Rodgers after being substituted. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey
Leigh Griffiths exchanges words with manager Brendan Rodgers after being substituted. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey

The forward took exception to being replaced in the 63rd minute for Scott Sinclair but the Celtic boss explained to Sky Sports it was for the player’s protection with the Scottish Cup final up ahead and Moussa Dembele a doubt.

Griffiths was forthright in his expressing his disappointment at being hooked, eventually being told to sit down and be quiet by Rodgers who shot him a steely stare.

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But it was all smiles and kisses after the game as the players and management took acclaim of the Celtic fans in Firhill’s packed Jackie Husband Stand.

Leigh Griffiths embraces Brendan Rodgers at full time. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey

“I think for a wee minute he lost his show of selflessness for the team. But he is a good kid, a good boy. All strikers want to play 90 minutes but for me it is about the team; I’m looking to protect him, protect (Dedryck) Boyata, protect some of the other players who haven’t played tonight in order to make sure this team is successful.

“But he is a good boy, a good lad so we move on.”

Griffiths had opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 18 minutes and set up Tom Rogic eight minutes later in what was a dominant Celtic performance which took the team on to 103 points, 104 goals and one game away from completing an unbeaten league season.

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Leigh Griffiths embraces Brendan Rodgers at full time. Pic: SNS/Alan Harvey