Former Man City hero Niall Quinn has given Celtic star Shane Duffy a much-needed pat on the back for his performance last night.

Duffy was part Stephen Kenny’s Ireland side that bagged a 1-1 draw in Qatar. The on-loan Hoops defender had lost his place to Dara O’Shea in the two opening World Cup qualification matches vs Serbia and Luxembourg. However, he was thrown in last night and performed well individually.

It was Duffy’s first competitive game in over six weeks after last featuring for Celtic against St Johnstone. Plagued with individual errors, he’s become something of a joke figure in Scotland. So much so that it’s not even up for debate whether he’ll return next season.

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But his display for Ireland has merited some much-needed praise for the Brighton-owned star from ex-Arsenal and City striker Quinn. Speaking on Virgin Media Sport, he said the following:

“Stood up to it tonight”

“A lot of positivity. I think they were a credit to their manager, to their supporters. They played with a great attitude. I said it before the game, I want the senior players to show what they’re made of. I think this was a night for them to say ‘Hey Stephen, look at us’.

“Delighted Stephen mentioned them in his interview – I think the senior players stood up to it tonight and that was the most important thing – that they showed what the dressing room can be like when they’re in the team. They’ve got leadership qualities – Coleman, Duffy, Long. There was some great efforts from players who haven’t been in the favour of the manager.

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“I’m really happy that happened. That the younger players were helped out by that and that they started getting more creative. They were getting in behind, they were trying things, and they had the chances to win the game. I think it was a great reaction by a group of players spearheaded by the senior players, and I hope their stock is more valued from this point on.”

 

Celtic building for the future; but hopefully Shane Duffy takes something from this

It’s great to see this. It’s been such a trying season for Duffy. It had been capped off with losing his place for his country after arriving at Parkhead with the reputation of being one of Ireland’s great leaders.

Winning it back and getting a bit of praise for his performance means something. Quinn won’t be the only one pleased with his performance. Ireland boss Stephen Kenny will be too, and hopefully that shows when he picks his next Ireland squad in September.

Of course, it has to be struck with a bit of balance. It was a friendly in Qatar. It was as meaningless a game of football as you can possibly have if you’re talking about tangible rewards. Then again, with Ireland players fighting to keep their manager in his post, there was something to play for.

Shane Duffy

Shane Duffy post Qatar (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

It won’t mean anything for his Celtic career of course. The Hoops are building for the future and have put their faith in young Stephen Welsh. Alongside Kris Ajer, that’s the partnership Celtic will likely go with between now and the end of the season.

Even if Duffy won his place back at Celtic immediately, it wouldn’t mean much. We only have a handful of games remaining between now and the summer. He wouldn’t even have the time now to win back the Hoops support who have been extremely let down with his displays.

But at the very least, it’s a crumb of confidence and something positive he can take. Given the season he’s had at Celtic, that’s not something to be sniffed at for Duffy.

In other news, there were two notable absentees from Celtic’s training video yesterday.

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