JOHN BARNES reckons Leigh Griffiths’ decision to return to pre-season overweight was both disrespectful and unprofessional.

Scotland international Griff was left to train on his own at Lennoxtown while Celtic travelled to Loughborough and France to continue their preparations for the upcoming Scottish Premiership season.

Parkhead manager Neil Lennon later slated the 29-year-old for his fitness and vowed that it was down to him to knuckle down and improve ahead of the Hoops’ historic 10 in a row bid.

Barnes, who had a stint as Celtic manager in 1999, insists there are no excuses for Griffiths’ condition, but he believes he will bounce back in quick time and be a key figure next season.

He said: “At the end of the day Leigh Griffiths is a great player and I don’t think his weight gain during lockdown will haunt him for too much longer. However, it should be said that in this day and age, it’s not ok to return overweight after a break - it’s disrespectful and unprofessional; but even more so due to the circumstances of the lockdown break.

“Players were given individual training programmes at home so there’s really no reason what so ever to return to training unfit. Those days are well and truly over. As the manager, I’d be very disappointed and feel let down.

“Back in my days, we all came back overweight because that is the way football worked; it was accepted and the coaches knew you were going to do it. But in modern football, it really shouldn’t happen anymore.

“Lennon knew he had to make a stand and make a point of discipline by leaving Griffiths behind. But there’s no doubt Griffiths will bounce back. 

“And it’s important to remember that managers have always fallen out with players over lots of different things but very few of them have held it against them for forever…unless you do something really stupid. But weight gain isn’t one of them.”

Griffiths took to Instagram to share a Rocky quote before declaring that he would prove his doubters wrong when the story broke that he had been left out of Celtic’s pre-season squad.

Barnes saw the funny side, adding: “As for the Rocky comment on social media…that’s pretty comical! And who knows, hopefully he’ll be able to do what Rocky did!”  

John Barnes was speaking to