Whatever else Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has lacked in his football career, it has not been a sense of devilment. And yet, his latest headline making exploits seem to point more to a sense of fragility rather than a desire to kick off a wind-up.

“It’s brave of the wee man to do that,” was Celtic and former Scotland captain Scott Brown’s take on Griffiths’ call to opt out of Scotland duty this week.

“You have got to give him a bit of credit for coming out and actually saying that because there aren’t a lot of people who would actually have done that.” That has been the stick that has been used to beat Griffiths with this week; that others suck it up and get on with it whether it suits or not.

There is no question that Griffiths was irked about being overlooked for a starting jersey by Alex McLeish for the opening Nations League game against Albania last month in favour of Hearts’ Steven Naismith. But the accusation that Griffiths has thrown the toys out of the pram because he has lost his place doesn’t entirely tally up either.

The striker did not look match-fit against Salzburg last Thursday night as Celtic lost in Austria in the Europa League. He did not add his name to the scoresheet in a slaughtering of St Johnstone last weekend in which the goals poured in and he seemed to labour around the park.

How his withdrawal will be perceived by the rest of the Scotland squad remains to be seen but for Brown, the striker’s decision to focus on his fitness will not only give Celtic optimum return but will also transpire to be the best thing for Scotland.

McLeish has offered no guarantees that the door will open again for Griffiths but Brown is relatively confident that any striker who is producing at club level will be difficult to ignore.

“He wants to get himself fitter and we want him back and scoring 20 or 30 goals a season,” said Brown. “The wee man will do that.

“Once he starts playing and getting confidence and everyone gets off his back he’ll be a great player for both club and country.”

Interestingly, Brown also raised the possibility of both Steven Naismith and Griffiths playing together rather than vying for the same spot.

“Naisy is a great pro,” said Brown. “He has been there and done it all and has worked with various managers down in England as well. He has been fantastic and who knows maybe the partnership between them could work well for Scotland.

“Leigh is a great character. It is good to have people like that in the dressing room but he is deadly serious about his football. He wants to score goals and that is what makes him happy. As soon as one thing happens people want to dive in on top of him but they forget about what he has done in the past for club and for country.”

Brown, meanwhile, has maintained that the Celtic players are relaxed about the current whispers surrounding the future of manager Brendan Rodgers.

The Irishman has been linked with the vacant managerial role at Aston Villa following the dismissal of Steve Bruce last week, speculation that comes on the back of chat regarding a lucrative move to China this summer.

“For me he is a top-class manager,” said Brown. “No matter what happens there is always going to be someone who wants him. He has shown his love for the club over the last two-and-a-half years.

Football is funny and you never know what is going to happen but he is here just now and we have to respect. What he has done for Scottish football has been exceptional. It has been good for us to work with a top quality manager and long may it continue.

“He is a big name. He was a Liverpool manager and then came to us almost right away. He loves the club as much as anyone. He will always do what is best for himself and for the club.”

The chat around Rodgers’ has been part of a wider discussion regarding the perceived factions that have developed at Celtic on the back of a summer in which an ill wind seemed to blow through the club.

A Champions League exit to an average AEK Athens side compounded the sense of frustration, while Rodgers’ demeanour and the downing of tools of defender Dedryck Boyata increased the sense of Celtic coming adrift.

Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd claimed to know that there was a split in the Celtic room, something that Brown has laughed off. “I don’t read it so it doesn’t bother me,” said Brown. “I was told about it. People don’t know what happens daily in the dressing-room.

“We play with a smile on our faces as we have done under this manager and we’ll continue to do it. Dedryck stayed and he has shown what a quality player he can be,” he said. “We’ve all been fine. Myself and the boss spoke when there was talk of Dedryck trying to get out and it was all fine. My role has never changed and there’s no need to bring everyone together.

“There’s no big issue there. We’ve all been fine. “We’re all together no matter what happens. The results aren’t always going to go your own way. We’ve had two great seasons and sometimes you will have ups and downs.”