John Hartson joined me on the Celtic Soul Podcast yesterday and opened up on how he reached out to Leigh Griffiths and Celtic to offer advice and guidance. He complimented Neil Lennon and Celtic on how they handled the situation with Leigh and brought him back at the right time after Leigh had put in the extra hours on the training ground to get himself fully fit and back into contention for a starting place and how he will now have a stronger mindset.
It is well documented that John had his own demons off the pitch and that is why he spoke to Brendan Rodgers and Peter Lawell about mentoring Leigh through difficult times. He openly chatted to me about his problems and you can hear the emotion in his voice. He gambled everything and he was broke back in Wales but he got himself out of a dark place to go on to have a successful career in media and enjoy the time spent with his loving family.
He spoke about Leigh’s strengths up front, goal scoring! And expects him to bag 20 to 25 next season. He went on to to say that Celtic need to secure the services of Frazer Forster for the 10IAR and Edouard up front while the Vultures circle with an estimated 30 to 35 million pound offer as Celtic aim to create history.
It was very enjoyable to hear him talking about his experiences of pre-season after a few weeks in the Spanish sun for 5 or 6 weeks and comparing it to the super fit sports science students of the game these days when the players come back now for pre-season ready to go with the European qualification early season start. No Micky Quinn’s! No John Hartson’s! No Matt LeTis! coming back to pre-season these days.
He takes great pleasure in how the team came back after Dubai and hit the ground running while Rangers didn’t. Neil Lennon changed the system and never looked back.
John takes a guess with his inside information on how the media will cover football when it returns without fans down south and then up in Scotland with BT exiting the stage and Sky taking full control.
John has been taking time out during the lockdown to get fit as he prepares for a charity run and he is not shy in taking plenty of credit for getting Chris Sutton and Alan Thompson on the speaking circuit and into the media. Not to mention Tommo’s new found Twitter fame with his little dog Bobo.
John spoke very highly about Chris Sutton on how he moved position to allow him into the starting 11. Larsson, Hartson and Sutton what a trio to be part of. Complimenting Sutton on being a real team player and how tight the team were and the respect they all had for the gaffer, Martin O’Neill. He also drew comparisons with the Welsh international team where top players played out of position so that the strongest 11 could start.
Check out the full interview on the Celtic Soul Podcast available to download on all platforms or in our podcast library.
Andrew started More than 90 Minutes in 2001. He has written for numerous publications and online about Celtic and he is a former newspaper columnist with the Daily Ireland and the man behind celticfanzine.com. He is host of Celtic Soul Podcast and Celtic AM pre-match events at Malone’s in Glasgow on match days and follows Celtic Home & Away. He is a season ticket holder for Celtic FC and the Republic of Ireland. He is also P.R.O. of St. Margaret’s CSC, a member of the Celtic Trust and the Celtic Graves Association.