Former Celtic striker John Hartson has told Leigh Griffiths that his door will always be open should the 28-year-old wish his advice and support.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers revealed yesterday afternoon that Griffiths has been granted leave of all football responsibilities as he looks for professional help to cope with a series of personal problems.
Social media rumours of a gambling addiction have been a perennial issue around Griffiths and Hartson believes that he is in a position to offer the striker advice to support him as he deals with what has been suggested are multi-faceted psychological issues.
The former Welsh internationalist has been open with his own addiction problems, revealing in 2011 that he checked into rehab as he feared the collapse of his marriage without the intervention of Gamblers Anonymous.
“Leigh knows where I am,” he said. “I have had conversations with Leigh in the past and he knows I would help him any time. He knows how to get a hold of me. He has my number and like many footballers that I have helped in the last three or four years I would be not only glad to help, I would love to do so.
“I think so highly of him. He is a top guy – he is funny, he is bubbly, he’s a real character and I know more than anyone what he’ll be going through to get to this stage now. I have been there. I hit rock bottom in 2011.”
And Hartson has insisted that Griffiths is capable of coming out of the other end of his current struggle and into a better place.
“Of course he can come back from this,” he said. “I’m seven years clean and I’m in the best place of my life, financially and medically. My story has been well told so no-one needs to hear what I done and what I went through.
“But he can most definitely walk out of this and into a better life. He will be happier, he will be more at peace within himself and he will feel unburdened if he gets the right professional help that is out there and available to him.
“The important thing for Leigh just now is that he is around people that know him well and know what he needs. He needs support and he needs to be allowed the space and privacy to focus on whatever difficult issues that have brought him to this point.
“I’d love to help in any way I can. I am here, I am on the end of a phone. I understand how tough it will be for him right now. He will be nervous, he will be anxious about the next few months that lie ahead and he will probably feel a little bit worried about what comes next.
“But the big thing for me is that Leigh has recognised that he needs help in a professional context and that is the first big step.”
Source : HeraldScotland