Alan Stubbs coached a young Shane Duffy at Everton and believed he know more that enough about the current Ireland Captain to be certain that he’d make a significant contribution at Celtic this season and that his season long loan move from Brighton to his boyhood heroes would be an overwhelming success for the Derry born central defender.
Indeed Stubbs was confident that he’d impress enough to make Celtic want to make the lawn deal permanent but such as been the outcome of a terrible season for Celtic and also for Shane Duffy there is next to no chance that this will now happen.
“I’d be very surprised if he gets that chance,” Stubbs, who was a pundit on Celtic TV yesterday alongside former manager Gordon Strachan, told Glasgow Times. “There are going to be wholesale changes and that’s started with Peter Lawwell and Neil Lennon leaving.
“With Shane, though, I think there’s an element of caring too much and trying too hard, which worked against him,” Stubbs explained. “All of his family are Celtic diehards as well but the biggest pressure comes from within. Shane would have desperately wanted this to be a success.
“He’d have wanted to play really well and for the season to have ended so much better than it has done. But it hasn’t and I don’t believe the instability of changing from week to week – from a back three to a four or a five – has helped him,” the former Hibs manager stated.
So it is almost certain that Duffy, who has now lost his place in the starting eleven to young Stephen Welsh, is going to be heading back to the south coast of England in the summer to re-join Broghton with his dream Celtic move turning into a nightmare for all concerned. At Celtic, Duffy’s chance has come and gone.
“It’s been a horrendous experience for Shane and that’s not what he came to the club for,” Stubbs added. “He signed so that he could play regularly after being left out of the picture at Brighton and, at first, everyone looked upon it as a really positive move for Celtic and for him.
“Scoring in each of his first two games helped as well but, ultimately, it hasn’t really happened for him and there’s no point in me trying to say otherwise.
“I know Shane personally, having coached him when he was starting out. He’s a great lad and he has all the attributes – he’s big and strong, which is what you want from your centre-backs. But he’s looked vulnerable and confused and he started to over-think things because of the mistakes that he’d made. When that happens you try to do different things to show what a player you are rather than sticking to what you’re good at.
“If I’d been his manager I would have stripped everything right back to basics because he was doing things during matches which were baffling. There was one game where he’d been at fault for a goal and, minutes later, he was trying to do a Cruyff turn on the edge of his own box and that’s just not Shane.
“But that’s what mistakes and a lack of confidence do to you – they start to mess with your mind and, certainly right now, that’s what Shane is going through.”
And while Stubbs recognises Duffy’s failing this season he is quick to point out that he’ not the only reason why this season went so badly wrong for the Hoops. “Only he can pull himself out of this and, in fairness, he’s not the only one not performing,” Stubbs said. “It’s been a problem for him a) because the team hasn’t been in great form and b) results haven’t been good enough.
“He’s come to Celtic in what is going to be their worst season in ten years and that doesn’t look great. This was a huge campaign and one which offered so much hope before it had started.
“What they achieved beforehand – nine in a row and the quadruple treble, which will probably never be equalled – was incredible but the Holy Grail was the ten and that’s gone.(the)Rangers have been good but they’ve not been brilliant. However, they’ve answered the questions asked of them while Celtic haven’t answered any of them.”