Michael Stewart delivers damning Shane Duffy verdict but knows how Celtic can turn around his form
Michael Stewart believes switching to a back four will get the best out of the underperforming Shane Duffy at Celtic, writing in his Scottish Sun column.
Duffy has come in for criticism for his performances against Rangers and Milan over the last week.
In truth, he’s not looked that convincing since signing for Brighton, struggling to adapt to Neil Lennon’s three-man defence.
Appearing cumbersome and shaky, some have wondered whether it was a wise idea to bring him in on loan from Brighton.
Stewart understands the frustration but reckons a simple tactical switch can help Duffy shine.
The Celtic TV pundit wrote in The Scottish Sun: “Celtic’s system has been THE biggest issue as Duffy has not fully convinced since arriving on loan from Brighton. Persevering with the three at the back was basically destroying the team. It just wasn’t working.
“Almost instantly against AC Milan, Celtic — and Duffy — looked more comfortable when Lennon switched to a four at half-time. The Republic of Ireland defender isn’t the quickest and can get exposed in a back three when he gets pulled into the wrong areas.
“Move to a back four and he looks more at ease because that’s the system where he’s played most of his football. He is an aggressive right-sided centre-half in a four-man defence and playing him there will get the best out of him.”
The Bhoys did improve against Milan after the switch to a back four.
It seemed to bring more players into the thick of the action and proved to be a sounder footing from which to attack the talented Italians.
Whether it also improves Duffy remains to be seen. It’s not just in open play he hasn’t convinced but when defending set-pieces too.
The Irish captain needs to be better in almost every department of his game right now. It can’t all be blamed on the system.
We know he has a passion for Celtic, but does he have the quality?
Lennon will be hoping the fightback begins tomorrow against Aberdeen and we’ll all be hoping Duffy can be a big part of it.