Efe Ambrose: Scottish football needs players like Leigh Griffiths

Hibernian defender Efe Ambrose believes Scottish football needs players and personalities like his former Celtic colleague Leigh Griffiths.

Hibernian's Efe Ambrose. Pic: SNS/Bruce White
Hibernian's Efe Ambrose. Pic: SNS/Bruce White

Ambrose hopes that Celtic’s decision to seek professional help for the troubled Scotland international can help him return to action as quickly as possible.

Ambrose will be spared marking the prolific striker when Hibs host Celtic on Sunday but the Nigerian would rather his former team-mate was at Easter Road, where he became a hero during a lengthy loan spell with his boyhood heroes.

“I just heard about what’s going on around him,” the defender said. “For me he’s a good guy, a good team-mate, a funny guy to be around in and out of the dressing room.

“I know he is going through this depression and everything around him, something that nobody would wish for anyone. We support him in this tragic situation that he is going through now and we want him to come back really quickly.

“People expect it because the league and the country needs players like him. He’s a top guy, a good striker and a good personality in the game. So we really want people like that in the league to keep us going.”

Ambrose feels it is difficult for players to make a significant difference if they see a team-mate struggling.

“It’s difficult sometimes because we are all human beings,” he said. “You might keep things to yourself and it’s only when you speak out that people can really know what’s going on around you.

“But if you don’t, well sometimes they might get a signal but they won’t know how to help someone unless they speak out. It’s only when you speak that people can come to you and give you the best advice.

“I know that once you are in a deep depression it’s very difficult and it takes the right people to get you put of it - family, friends, people around him can really talk to him and pep him up, and specialists as well. That’s the only help he can get right now.”

Hibs are looking to build on their first win in eight games, which came last week at Hamilton after assistant manager Garry Parker had delivered a withering assessment of some players’ efforts and contribution.

“When results are not coming, people speak,” Ambrose said. “Criticism is part of football. We know individually and collectively we can do better.

“So this is what they are trying to tell us and these words are not meant to criticise us as a bad player, but to push us to be the best we know we can be.

“We were disappointed with results before the Hamilton game but we know it’s football, it happens sometimes and there’s nothing you can do but deal with it. How you deal with it is by working hard, watching video clips, seeing the mistakes you have made and work on that.

“We have been doing that a lot and the gaffer has been on us really hard in these last few weeks because he wants us to be at our best. That has really helped us come out of this situation.

“There is nothing wrong with what Garry Parker or anybody says, or the fans and the media. But we know we are better than what he says and we believe in our ability as individuals and a team. We know we are not bad players.”