Imagine you were Shane Duffy this season.

You’d always wanted to play for Celtic. You’re fulfilling a family dream, and you’re already the Republic of Ireland captain. Theoretically, Celtic need a physical defender with aerial presence. On paper, it all seems so right.

And quickly, it all goes so wrong.

It’s hard not to feel sorry for giant Irishman Shane Duffy. When he signed for Celtic on loan, fans were buzzing. Quite rightly, too; he’s an experienced international, with Premier League clout. Objectively, the signing of Duffy made sense on every applicable level.

Here we are in March, and things are incredibly glum. Duffy has been target of horrific online abuse, and is unlikely to garner any meaningful playing time before the season ends. It’s just not worked out, for a variety of factors, and nobody will be hurting about it more than Duffy himself.

That’s why it’s great to see him named in the next Republic of Ireland squad.

Shane Duffy
Shane Duffy: some national glory would do wonders / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The perfect boost for Ireland captain Shane Duffy, whose place was in legitimate doubt

Put it this way, if you were the Republic of Ireland manager, would you have picked Shane Duffy? Sad as it is to say, his presence is a gamble at this stage.

It would’ve been an unthinkable scenario even a year ago. The 41-cap [Transfermarkt] international’s stock has fallen so dramatically, that it wouldn’t have been a massive surprise if he was dropped. That’s despite being the captain of his national team. Such is the fickle nature of this sport, and the nature of confidence.

What about this though; what if Shane Duffy plays well? Yes, Stephen Welsh and Kristoffer Ajer are the preferred defensive duo for now, as they should be. But what a lift it would be if Duffy is able to perform. Against the likes of Luxembourg and Qatar, conceding at all would be criminal.

With the club looking to the Scottish Cup, it’d be a relatively happy ending to a horrible season if Duffy was able to lift the cup. He’d still go down in history, as it would be a record 5th consecutive trophy win for the club.

No matter what else happens, the history books would say that Derry man Duffy would’ve been part of something special.

After the trauma he’s dealt with in his personal life over the last season, it’d take a heart of stone to deny him that.

READ MORE: Being a Celtic supporter is an inherently good trait in a person; as a manager it means less.

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