'Without their help, I wouldn'...
Soccer

'Without their help, I wouldn't be here' | Leigh Griffiths

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

18:00 22 Jul 2019

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has admitted that it was 'very hard and lonely' being away from football as he took time out in a bid to recover from depression.

The 28-year-old stepped away from the game last December but was back at the club this month for pre-season training before making his return to action in the second leg of the Champions League qualifier against Sarajevo.

Speaking on Monday ahead of the second round tie against Kalju, Griffiths acknowledged the support he received in tackling his illness.

"It was very lonely at times," said Griffith. "Without the help of the club, friends, family and support that I had, I wouldn't be sitting here now so it's a massive thank you to them.

"It's been a long, difficult road but thankfully there's light at the end of the tunnel."

Leigh Griffiths urges people to seek help for depression

Griffiths revealed that it was his former boss Brendan Rodgers who first helped him on his road to recovery but that his new manager Neil Lennon, who had his own issues with depression, has also been a great support.

"It was just a slow drip that was building up and building up and Brendan Rodgers saw that and that's when he stepped in, so another thank you to him.

"If he never stepped in, who knows where I'd be.

"But I'm trying to look forward now and be positive and I'm glad to be back on the park and getting minutes under my belt and trying to look forward to the season ahead."

"When [Neil] got the job, it was a big relief for me because he's somebody that went through it himself and if I had to turn to somebody to get any advice or ask any questions or just go and speak to somebody, then he'd be the man to do it.

"He gave me a clean slate and said, 'Look this season's a new season, go and do what you can do, go and show everybody that you can still be a top player', and that's what I aim to do."

Griffiths also urged anyone who is dealing with depression to seek help or to talk to someone about it.

"With what's happening in society nowadays, I think a lot of people are taking their own lives," said Griffiths. "Maybe if [people] open up and speak a little bit, it can save lives.

"So anybody that's suffering and they want to speak to somebody, just open up, speak to anybody. There's a lot of people out there that will help."

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