MY brother took his own life because of his mental health issues.
The pain and suffering of his suicide still haunts me and my family each and every day.
So don’t dare anyone accuse me of belittling another man’s personal problems like I couldn’t care less.
I set up my own charity after Scott passed away.
I’m heavily involved in the day-to-day running of an organisation that now helps countless people cope with depression and other issues going on in their lives. I’m proud of what we do.
I know my role and responsibility within the charity and wouldn’t deliberately do anything to detract from the work being done.
So if anyone genuinely believes I’d have a go at Leigh Griffiths for problems he’s gone through then they are wrong.
So let’s get one thing straight, just to be perfectly clear.
On Sky the other night, I mentioned Leigh’s mental STRENGTH in coping with criticism. I wasn’t talking about his mental health.
They are two totally different things.
Of course, that doesn’t suit the people who want to be offended so they can jump all over my comments and demand I’m sacked. But then I suppose that’s just the world we live in.
The bottom line is that I have absolutely nothing against Leigh and find this notion that I have an agenda quite laughable.
If Leigh is unhappy with me for saying he was fighting to save his celtic career, that’s fine.
But it was an honest opinion of him as a footballer. Nothing else.
If he wants to have a pop at me, a former Rangers player, then good luck to him, he can charge in. He should just know by now that it’s all water off a duck’s back.
I just wish Leigh was able to take criticism the way he takes praise.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it or written it in this column, he’s up there with the best finishers we’ve had in this country.
But surely it’s fair enough to question him?
They’ll never admit it now, but celtic fans must have been wondering what was going on with Griffiths.
Even one of their own, Chris Sutton, who’s very close to people at celtic, questioned why he wasn’t playing.
He even said he thought it was because he wasn’t pulling his weight in training. Where was Sutton getting that from?
Griffiths had his time out because of his issues, but has been back training with the first-team squad for months now.
And don’t start me on this idea players can only get match-fit when they’ve played matches. I’m sorry, that’s an old-school argument. These days you need to get to a certain level of fitness even to be considered.
So if Griffiths isn’t at that level, why not?
I used some stats on the TV the other night that were actually wrong — I meant to say games STARTED when I said games played.
But my point still stands. Why hasn’t Griffiths played more football for celtic in the last few months? Could it be he’s not working as hard as he should be behind the scenes?
As a club, celtic stood by him brilliantly when it became common knowledge he was finding life hard. For that I give enormous credit to Peter Lawwell and celtic’s hierarchy.
But Leigh seemed to think it was a good look to shout up at me in the TV gantry at Rugby Park on Wednesday night — when the Scotland manager was sitting right beside me.
If he thought he was impressing Steve Clarke, he should think again.
I’ll be honest, though, I WAS impressed with the way he took his goal. He looked sharp.
This notion that seems to have got into his head that I have something against him is utter nonsense.
Deep down Leigh himself must know his celtic career has been on the line.
When I said he had four weeks to save his Parkhead career, it was around the time left-winger Lewis Morgan was playing up front.
Had that been me, alarm bells would have been ringing. It would have been like DaMarcus Beasley playing ahead of me at No 9 when we were at Rangers.
But instead of taking the comments for what they were, he clearly decided I was having a needless pop — when all I was doing was stating a view that he needed to get back fit as soon as possible.
You know what, though, if that criticism has sparked him into life then I’m pleased about that because I’d really hate for him to get to my age and kick himself for wasting the talent he has.
People may think that’s rich coming from me, as one accusation I used to get all the time was that I didn’t work hard enough out on the pitch. And I’ll take that on my chins.
Griffiths just needs to focus on getting back to his previous level and stop worrying about what people like me think. He’s in COMPLETE control of this situation, not me.
It doesn’t matter what I think at the end of the day.
Maybe we can sit down and talk about it, I’d definitely be up for that. We’ve exchanged texts before so he’s got my number.