Duffy's struggles at Celtic are slowing; fans showing appreciation

By David Walton

December 21, 2020

Call me sentimental, but if there’s one Celtic player I want to succeed this season then it’s Shane Duffy.

Coming off of a hellish summer on a personal level, Celtic was supposed to be his release. Supposed to be the boost his career desperately needed. Playing for his boyhood club and leading us to the 10. The stuff of legends you could say. It’s not quite worked out like that.

A string of poor individual errors led to Duffy being dropped for several games. It looked like his loan spell from Brighton was all but over. However, reintegrated vs Lille, he put in two solid displays against the Ligue 1 side and Kilmarnock respectively.

Then we had today against Hearts. Listen, it wasn’t perfect, but we have to realise it’s a gradual process for Duffy. Given how poor he was when he came up, we have to accept the baby steps he’s taking.

And you have to break his performance down today. He was superb in the first half, bulleting away everything that came into the box. Both Steven Naismith and Liam Boyce couldn’t get a sniff.

When that half-time whistle went you couldn’t help but be buzzing for him. His Celtic career was turning around and his struggles were slowing down.

No Celtic player impressed in the second half

Then the second 45 happened. Something was different. Both he and Chris Jullien were just a little bit too hesitant and a bit too careless with the basics in their game. None more so than when the pair collided with each other to allow Josh Ginnelly in at 2-1.

This came after he was arguably at fault for the first Hearts goal. Andy Halliday’s deep cross was glanced home by Liam Boyce – a Liam Boyce that was supposed to have been marked by Duffy.

However, to act as though the second half was a calamity would be unfair on the on-loan Brighton man. In fact, he actually impressed as Celtic’s midfield started losing more and more control of the game.

Shane Duffy (left) celebrates with his Celtic teammates at Hampden (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

His responsibilities increased and he was having to do a lot more clearing from his own box. That and snuffing out long and through balls that Hearts tried to get in with.

Neil Lennon decided to take the centre-back off and go with the more attacking Mikey Johnston. That wasn’t a slight on Duffy’s display of course. It was the nature of the game and Celtic had to go for it.

Overall, there were still worrying signs there in the Irishman’s game. But the recovery continues for now, and he’s been receiving plenty of love from the Celtic supporters for what he produced yesterday.

Here’s a look at some of the fan reaction to his display:

“History makers”

https://twitter.com/coll_eddie/status/1340738258402234370

In other news, take a look at our player ratings from yesterday and see what Shane bagged.