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James McPake has ‘absolutely no concerns’ playing Leigh Griffiths against Gers

Dundee v West Ham United – Pre Season Friendly – Kilmac Stadium
(Image credit: Ian Rutherford)

Dundee manager James McPake insists he has no worries about playing Leigh Griffiths against Rangers.

The striker has been charged by police after kicking a smoke bomb into a stand housing St Johnstone fans on Wednesday night.

The Scotland international had earlier declared he had only meant to remove the item from the pitch after it was thrown on following Saints’ first goal in their 2-0 win at Dens Park in the Premier Sports Cup quarter-final.

However, a Police Scotland spokesperson said on Friday: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 31-year-old man has been charged in relation to culpable and reckless conduct, following an incident at Dens Park, Dundee, on Wednesday, September 22. A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Despite the charge, McPake insists he has no plans to leave the on-loan Celtic striker out of Saturday’s Dens Park showdown with Rangers.

“I have absolutely no concerns about playing Leigh,” McPake said.

“I had no concern about playing Paul McMullan against Dundee United last weekend whatsoever.

“And I have no concerns about playing Leigh Griffiths against Rangers, Hearts, whoever it is.

“I know Leigh as a character and he’ll handle the occasion.”

The smoke bomb incident – which happened shortly after Shaun Rooney had opened the scoring for Saints – was filmed by a supporter and posted on social media.

Dundee issued a statement on Thursday in which Griffiths apologised for his actions.

It read: “Dundee Football Club and Leigh Griffiths would like to address a regrettable incident which occurred during last night’s Premier Sports Cup tie with St Johnstone at the Kilmac Stadium.

“Following the opening goal a smoke generator, among other items, was thrown onto the park by the visiting supporters. This pyrotechnic ended up back in the stand as Leigh kicked it to remove it from the field of play.”

Griffiths added: “It was regrettable that the pyrotechnic ended up back in the stand as my intention was just to remove it from the pitch.

“Having just lost a goal I was eager to get the match restarted as quickly as possible and I would like to apologise for any distress caused by this action.”

Griffiths could also face Scottish Football Association disciplinary action but the police charge could delay that process.