CHRIS SUTTON was caught up in a row concerning Leigh Griffiths following Celtic’s 3-2 League Cup win over Hearts at Parkhead yesterday.
Ange Postecoglou insisted his squad still needs strengthening after goals from Odsonne Edouard, Stephen Welsh and Kyogo Furuhashi to up a home quarter-final clash with Raith Rovers, 2-1 conquerors of Aberdeen at Stark’s Park.
The French striker, who was starting his first game in four, is still at the centre of transfer speculation which will continue until the deadline is reached at 11pm on August 31.
Kyogo and Edouard have shared the striking duties with Griffiths and Albian Ajeti waiting in the wings.
Former Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart and Sutton were discussing live on air the possible problems the Hoops could face if they lost the former Paris Saint-Germain prospect who cost a club record £9million when he arrived in June 2018.
UP IN ARMS…Leigh Griffiths is a player Celtic “can’t rely on,” according to Chris Sutton.
The ex-Tynecastle star suggested Griffiths could play a part, but that suggestion brought an immediate rebuke from the Englishman.
Sutton, speaking on Premier Sports, said: “They talk about Thomas Henry coming in, a big physical target type, maybe to replace Edouard if he goes.”
Stewart, though, threw the name of the 30-year-old Scotland international forward into the mix and Sutton snapped: “You can’t rely on Griffiths.
“You’re talking about trying to win a title, trying to win trophies, you can’t chuck them in if they are not fit. There are question marks over Griffiths’ fitness.”
Stewart countered: “I disagree. I think there are games, particularly at home here, where you can get Leigh Griffiths in the side and he will score goals.”
Sutton was suitably unimpressed and said: “Celtic aren’t in a position to take anyone lightly and I think that was what Ange was trying to say more than anything.”
However, his fellow-media pundit persisted and said: “This is what you would regard as a risk, I don’t regard this as a risk, Leigh Griffiths is capable of having an impact in certain games.”
Sutton remained totally unimpressed and added: “He hasn’t been able to make an impact for the last couple of seasons!”
Griffiths was on the substitutes’ bench against Hearts, but was overlooked by Postecoglou. He has yet to figure in a competitive game this season.
Celtic will NOW host Championship side Raith Rovers, while holders St Johnstone will visit Dundee.
The ties are due to be played during the midweek of September 21-23.
While Postecolou’s side were overcoming Robbie Neilson’s visitors, Callum Davidson’s Perth side required penalties to see off Arbroath. Steven Gerrard’s outfit were, of course, first team through to the last eight with a rampant 5-0 win over Dunfermline on Friday. Dundee beat Motherwell 1-0, while their Tayside neighbours United and Livingston were taken to penalties against Ayr United and St Mirren, respectively on Saturday.
The semi-finals are scheduled for the weekend of November 20-21 and the final will be played on December 19.
Celtic v Raith Rovers
Rangers v Livingston
Dundee United v Hibs
Dundee v St Johnstone