| 2.3°C Belfast

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths denies mocking devastated Kyle Lafferty after NI play-off defeat


Leigh Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths


Leigh Griffiths

Celtic and Scotland striker Leigh Griffiths has denied accusations he was mocking Kyle Lafferty after liking a picture of the Northern Ireland striker in tears after their Euro 2020 play-off defeat to Slovakia on Thursday.

Griffiths had liked a Twitter post of the Northern Ireland striker crying following the game at Windsor Park just days after Lafferty's sister, Sonia, had passed away after a battle with cancer.

Sonia was only 41 when she died, and brother Kyle paid tribute to her before the game against Slovakia by wearing a t-shirt with a picture of her on it during the warm-up.

After the extra-time defeat, pictures of the former Rangers striker in tears were shared on social media, with Griffiths liking one before deleting his Twitter account.

This came after the 30-year-old had been part of the Scotland squad which did qualify for the Euro 2020 finals after they defeated Serbia in a penalty shoot-out in Belgrade on Thursday night.

However, after receiving some vicious backlash on social media, Griffiths took to Instagram to clear up what he described as a 'misunderstanding', claiming he didn't realise Lafferty's sister had died.

"Not that I should have to, but after what I'm seeing on social media I feel I need to," the Celtic striker wrote.

"After last night's win, I want to state I was NOT slagging Kyle Lafferty for losing a family member. That is the lowest of the low and not the type of person I am.

"The picture was in a Northern Ireland strip and the fact they didn't qualify and we did, which has been a huge achievement for the entire nation.

"Everyone gets carried away and people think I liked it because his sister died, absolutely not.

"We won, they didn't, we've been mocked for years about failure, but we did it. I want to apologise unreservedly for any misunderstanding there has been towards Kyle and his family.

"Don't deserve what I've been sent, but I've had enough and something needed to be said on the matter."


Shirt: Kyle’s tribute to sister Sonia before game

Shirt: Kyle’s tribute to sister Sonia before game

William Cherry/Presseye

Shirt: Kyle’s tribute to sister Sonia before game

Griffiths' actions come after he urged people to speak out about their mental health issues following his own prolonged battle with personal issues, which saw him sit out the second half of last season.

Speaking to the Celtic View podcast in April about mental health during lockdown, Griffiths said: "Just to speak up. That's the most important thing. If people keep stuff bottled in a lot - and that was the case with me, I kept things bottled up - it will tip you over the edge.

"But the more you speak out, there are loads of people who will be willing to listen and give you advice. If you can speak out, it might end up helping you, and you can start enjoying life again."

Belfast Telegraph