Celtic boss vows to back Leigh Griffiths if SFA take action over Rugby Park incident

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Celtic manager Neil Lennon has vowed to vigorously defend Leigh Griffiths against any potential disciplinary charge after the striker was involved in heated scenes at Rugby Park.

Griffiths scored his second goal in as many appearances as the Scottish champions beat Kilmarnock 3-1 win to maintain their two point lead over Rangers at the top of the Premiership.

Neil Lennon with Leigh Griffiths after the striker was substituted. Picture: SNS

Neil Lennon with Leigh Griffiths after the striker was substituted. Picture: SNS

When the 29-year-old was substituted 10 minutes from time, he responded to what Lennon described as ‘unsavoury abuse’ from among the home support by throwing his sock tape in their direction.

But Lennon insists Griffiths has no case to answer amid speculation he could face a notice of complaint from the Scottish FA compliance officer.

“If there is going to be something made of this, then I will be at the front of the queue backing him up,” said Lennon.

“He was getting a lot of unsavoury abuse which was totally uncalled for. He was backed up by myself and his team-mates on the bench.

“I thought his behaviour tonight was exemplary. He didn’t do anything wrong. People can blow it up but it was nothing.

“He always seems to get controversy surrounding him but I’ll back him to the hilt on this one. His behaviour tonight was top class, as was his performance.

The kid had played well, he hadn’t got himself into any bother on the pitch. He goes and sits down and gets abuse from supporters. In this day and age, we have to accept that and behave in a sanitised way. He did.

“You’re looking for a story that’s just not there. If there is a story, I’ll back him and defend him to the hilt.

"He didn't (throw it at a supporter). He threw a bit of tape on the ground. I don't know how you can say he threw it at somebody or towards somebody. People take off tape and throw it away, so to me there is nothing in it.”

Lennon, who is hopeful right-back Jeremie Frimpong has not sustained a serious injury despite being taken off on a stretcher in stoppage time, was thrilled by his team’s dominant display in their first league game after the winter break.

“It was an outstanding performance,” he added. “It’s a difficult place to come, sometimes the surface can be difficult, but we made easy weather of it tonight.

“We had three outstanding goals but more importantly the performance was top class. The players’ attitude was top class. I’m absolutely delighted in the context of the season, that’s as good as we’ve played in a while.”