McNamara rues service to Griffiths

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JACKIE MCNAMARA reckons that Leigh Griffiths was always up against it after ploughing a lone furrow up front for much of the Scottish Cup final.

Hibs boss Pat Fenlon started the match with a 4-4-2 formation but switched to 5-4-1 after going two goals down to Celtic at Hampden.

That meant an increased number of long and high balls into Griffiths and, up against Kelvin Wilson and Charlie Mulgrew who both stand well over 6ft tall, left the Hibs hitman short-changed.

McNamara senior said of Griffiths, who was clearly struggling with a calf problem throughout the match: “I wouldn’t have had Leigh up there and pumping high balls into him. It was crazy because Charlie Mulgrew strolled the game. What chance did Leigh have against him and Kelvin Wilson?

“I don’t think Leigh was fully fit either. There had been talk he’d taken an injection and that wouldn’t surprise me.

“The boy would have been desperate to play. He’s been fabulous for Hibs and you have to give him a try but you could see he was injured from pretty early doors. No disrespect to the boys trying to get the ball to him because they were closed down quickly, but he didn’t get great service.

“Celtic press you and put players under pressure and when it’s young boys, that can put a bit of fear into them.”

McNamara hailed the role which former Hibs striker Anthony Stokes played in his team’s victory. The Celtic player had a hand in all three goals and McNamara picked out him and another Easter Road old boy, Scott Brown, for praise for the way that they went about their business.

He continued: “Anthony Stokes was outstanding for Celtic. He was involved in the three goals and his turn for the third was sublime.

“Scott Brown bossed the game as Ian Black did last season because the Hibs midfield didn’t get anywhere near him.”