“He’ll be a stalwart for the team” – Celtic boss predicts “better and better” performances from under-pressure summer signing

It’s fair to say that after a sensational start to his dream move to Celtic, things have got much tougher for Shane Duffy over the past few weeks. Some are blaming the switch to a back three, others point to the absence of Christopher Jullien alongside him, while there are also those who reckon that Celtic’s position as top dog in Scottish football doesn’t suit the back-to-the-wall qualities that the Irish captain clearly possesses.

You could say that Duffy would be a very difficult opponent for Celtic to play against but that he’s exposed when left with the ball against teams happy to sit in – including incidentally theRangers last weekend. It was no coincidence that Duffy had more touches of the  ball last Saturday and those who watched Celtic in the mid 1990s will recall that the same thing happened when Tommy Burns signed John Hughes. Big Yogi adapted his game to become better on the ball – he probably thought, just as well as he always seemed to have it anyway!

Niall J wasn’t keen on Celtic signing Duffy in the summer and said so on here. But while many of those who were previously delighted by the signing from Brighton on a season-long loan deal, have been turning on the Irishman,  Niall has written this prince this morning saying that he’s warming to Duffy.

READ HERE…Shane Duffy? I’m warming to the guy

And Neil Lennon, the man who made the call on bringing Duffy to Celtic, has jumped to the defence of the no nonsense centre half.

“Shane didn’t play any football for nine months. All of a sudden, he’s played 14 games in about five weeks,” the Celtic manager told the media, as reported by Scottish Sun.

“He played three games for Ireland then had an abscess in his mouth that was giving him a lot of pain. He flew back into Glasgow last Thursday and had some emergency dental work. Then we had to roll him out there on Saturday against (the)Rangers.

“He played on Thursday but we’re curtailed in that he’s got no Nir Bitton, Chris Jullien or Hatem Elhamed beside him.

“In the main, his performances have been pretty consistent. I know he’s under a bit of scrutiny because people are looking at him for some of the goals we’ve lost, but we can’t pinpoint that on Shane. It’s a collective effort.

“As the season unfurls and goes along, he’ll play a huge part for us. Shane’s a good type and he will revel in it eventually. But he’s only just in the door. He’s been thrown in without any real pre-season. He’ll get better and better — and he’ll be a stalwart for the team.

“The criticism of the team is justified at times, I get it. But some of it on individual players is unfair. People are looking at every nuance of every player. But you don’t get the perfect player or perfect team.”

Watch Neil Lennon’s pre-match media conference below…

READ THIS…Aberdeen v Celtic Match Preview – Unleashing Tom Rogic and a 4-2-3-1 formation

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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