Gavin Strachan clears up Celtic Shane Duffy mystery after Kris Boyd stirring

By John McGinley

January 11, 2021

Celtic coach Gavin Strachan has cleared up the mystery surrounding the return of Shane Duffy to the first-team bubble in time for tonight’s match against Hibernian.

Duffy left the Celtic group in Dubai to travel home for personal reasons. That was supposed to rule him out of the Hibs game because of social distancing protocol.

Assistant manager John Kennedy said in his press conference at the weekend: “Shane had a couple of personal things that he had to leave Dubai for, so we sent him back on that basis.

“Following protocols, he’ll miss the weekend’s game because he’s left the bubble. He’s been through one round of tests. He’ll go through a second round before then returning to the bubble, which is normal protocol. Nothing unusual.

“From then on in Shane will be in our thoughts in terms of the games. We just had to give him some time to sort some things out.”

There was some surprise then when Duffy was named in the starting line-up for the visit of Jack Ross’ team.

However, Strachan, who is in charge of tonight’s match in the dugout, explained the situation to BBC Radio Scotland (19:24) before kick-off.

Speaking to Chick Young, he said: “Duffy’s playing tonight. He’s back in. He returned another negative test before coming back into the bubble, so he’s ready to go again.”

No Shane Duffy drama for Celtic

This was an issue raised by the Sky Sports broadcast team as a potential problem before kick-off. It appears there’s no Covid-19 breach nor drama on this.

Kris Boyd looked to be getting very excited about potentially uncovering another scandal.

Duffy was named in tonight’s team alongside Stephen Welsh.

It says a lot about the Irish captain’s desire to make it at the club for him to return from personal leave and be rushed back into the line-up.

Gavin Strachan has taken charge of Celtic vs Hibernian / (Photo by Craig Foy/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Ross Doohan is another who has returned to the Celtic bubble after being on loan at Ross County, presumably going by the same protocol.

Scott Robertson has also been recalled from loan after a spell at Gillingham. The youngster couldn’t make it up in time for the Hibs test.

Robertson is expected to be eligible for the match against Livingston this weekend.

In other news, a new protest banner aimed at Peter Lawwell has been unveiled at Celtic Park.