JUST after I became Motherwell manager, we had a game against Kilmarnock down at Rugby Park. In those days, I liked to watch the game from the stand to get a better perspective on what was going on, so I sat up in the Director’s box.

It was an awful game. You don’t see this so much these days, but both teams were so fixated with playing the other one offside that there were 20 men congregated in the middle of the park and there was no space to play football as a result.

Some of the fans in the stand started to direct their ire over the spectacle on show towards the back of the stand, where we were sitting. I presumed they were all aiming their anger at the Directors, but when I looked around, I could see them all sinking lower in their seats, and it was clear to everybody that I was seated up there.

One chap in particular was vociferous in his criticism, and it was soon patently obvious that he had clocked me.

“Haw Hay, this is s***e!” he shouted directly at me. “You might have been awright as a player, but you should jack the management in awready!”

I didn’t respond, but I decided it might be best if I watched the second half from the dugout!

The point I am making here is that if I hadn’t just shared this anecdote with you, then it would only have been the gentleman (if you could call him that) concerned and I that would ever have known about this exchange.

Fast forward to Wednesday night. Now, I don’t know if the gent involved in the altercation with Leigh Griffiths during Celtic’s game with Kilmarnock was the same one who berated me all those years ago, though he looked old enough that it may well have been.

What I do know to be the main difference between the incident involving Leigh and the one that I had in the same stand though was that there was no TV cameras or smartphones there in my day to capture it and dissect it.

There is so much scrutiny on modern players now, while the level of abuse aimed in their direction has probably stayed much the same from when I was involved in the game. The restraint they have to show in the face of appalling stuff at times is incredible.

Sometimes, they bite back, but while I am not excusing Leigh for tossing a bit of tape in a supporter’s direction, it is hardly the crime of the century.

I shudder to think how many controversies there may have been in the past had the same spotlight been applied to Scottish football in my day. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.

At the end of the day, nobody was hurt in the Griffiths incident, and more importantly, there was absolutely no intent to hurt anyone either. It was petulant, yes, but I would be amazed if the striker faced any retrospective punishment.

The more important thing for the player to focus on is how well he has done in the past two games. The best way to shut up your critics is by putting the ball in the back of the net, and that is what Leigh should be concentrating on.

I discussed this in the column a few weeks back, and I always believed that if he knuckled down and applied himself in the background then he certainly still had the talent to make an impact for Celtic.

He has clearly done that over the winter break and in Dubai, so fair play to him for putting in the hard work that was required.

This is just the start for him, and he mustn’t get complacent and think he is back to where he was. That is still some way off, but he is making great strides in the right direction.

I always thought that Neil Lennon may want to bring in another striker over and above Patryk Klimala to add some depth to his attacking options, and I think that case has only been strengthened further by the shift to a 3-5-2.

Remarkably, we could now be talking about a situation where there has to be cover not only for Odsonne Edouard, but also for Griffiths too.

I would expect that Neil Lennon will persevere with the same set-up they had against Kilmarnock in today’s game against Ross County at Celtic Park, and I would expect both of the strikers to be licking their lips at the prospect.

These games can be tricky, but having won 6-0 against County the last time they came to Celtic Park, there may be a chance here to boost the goal difference, which could be so important come the end of the season.

Three points is of course the primary objective, but having watched Rangers get a narrow win at home to St Mirren during the week, Celtic could do themselves a real favour by hitting a few at home today.