KRIS BOYD may not have been every Celtic supporter’s cup of tea before Wednesday night, but as most people who have crossed paths with him will probably tell you, he seems a warm and decent character.

What most of us don’t have any idea of is what it has been like for him dealing with the unspeakable tragedy that befell his family with the loss of his brother, but through the founding of his own charity which aims to help people suffering from mental health issues, he has admirably wrung something hugely positive out of that personal pain.

But taking all of this into consideration only makes his comments about Leigh Griffiths following Celtic’s game against Kilmarnock all the harder to fathom. If anyone should understand what Griffiths may have been going through during the last two tumultuous years, then it is Boyd.

His ill-thought out attack on the Celtic forward following a match in which Celtic won and Griffiths scored can only be explained perhaps by a need to double down on his claim that Griffiths had four weeks to save his career, and that the arrival of Patryk Klimala may mean that his days with the champions are numbered. Or, if you were to look at it less charitably, perhaps his need to be an outspoken pundit, particularly in the face of the gesture Griffiths aimed at him after scoring, momentarily superseded a sense of morality he no doubt possesses. T

These may – may – be explanations for his rhetoric, but they don’t excuse it.

If you weren’t watching Sky Sports’ coverage of the match from Rugby Park, Boyd responded to a ‘shushing’ gesture made towards him by Griffiths by questioning the application of the striker in training, citing a statistic that he played just 34 games of 135 for the club since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers in 2016 as proof of his lack of dedication.

Now, comments about the need for Griffiths to commit more to his fitness are nothing new. His managers at Celtic have said as much.

Ronny Deila, fully six years ago, said of Griffiths; “He needs to get fitter. Of course, that is about playing games, but it also comes from hard work in the gym and also off the pitch.”

Brendan Rodgers? Three years ago he said: “What I’ve said to him is about making sure the talent is a working talent. Because talent’s not good enough on its own.

“You have to work at it - and it’s a cycle. It’s one where, when he’s playing and fit, Leigh’s very good, but can still work harder in training.”

His current boss, Neil Lennon, has been slightly more charitable, giving Griffiths credit for taking on such advice.

“He needs to do extra work and stay on top of his conditioning now and he’s working hard at that,” said Lennon recently.

“I’ve spoken to him about this. I didn’t come to Celtic until I was 29 and I feel like I’ve been here all my life. If you look after yourself and keep yourself in good condition, then you can play for a long time.”

So, lobbing stones in Griffiths direction about his application over his career is one thing, even if it does come from someone like Boyd, who as the Celtic support have been quick to point out, is sitting in something of a glass house on the topic. But there are problems with the way that Boyd presented his criticism of Griffiths.

For one thing, the stats he used were erroneous. Griffiths has appeared in 71 Premiership games since the start of the 2016/17 season, but let’s give Boyd the benefit of the doubt by assuming he misspoke and was referring to league games that Griffiths had started.

The problem with pinning that relatively low number of starts solely on Griffiths’ lack of commitment on the training field though is that it discounts two key factors. Firstly, the fact that he was being used rotationally in competition with Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard throughout that time, and secondly, astonishingly, the seven months he spent away from football as he battled his personal demons.

Airbrushing that period, and the ongoing fight that Griffiths faces every day, is at best a troubling oversight. Many Celtic fans have accused him of a shameful and deliberate attempt to belittle Griffiths’ issues. Only Boyd can clarify which it is.

As for Griffiths, he is mostly channelling his frustration at those who doubt him in a positive fashion. Tossing his sock tape at a Kilmarnock fan was stupid, but it seems to have been one of those occasions where a fan has aimed abuse in the direction of a player and then caused a stooshie when the player has had the temerity to bite back. Daft from Griffiths, yes, and no doubt Neil Lennon will have a private word with him about it, but the criticism that has continued to come Griffiths’ way seems to be a driving factor behind his improved showings on the pitch over the last week or so if you go by his celebrations.

In that regard, Celtic manager Lennon may well be happy for people to keep sniping at the player if it is going to drag the best out of him. In this specific case though, I would hope and imagine that Boyd will reflect on the insensitivity and crassness of these particular comments and retract them, as well as offering an apology to Griffiths in the coming days.

It would be a shame if what is really important in the bigger picture was lost in the perpetual tit-for-tat that consumes Scottish football, and Kris Boyd should be big enough to recognise that.