Shane Duffy needed that last night; Celtic man must use Lille as a building block

By David Walton

December 11, 2020

So much will be made of how big a night last night was for the likes of Ismaila Soro, Patryk Klimala, and David Turnbull to name a few.

However, our 3-2 Europa League win against Lille was just as big a night for the highly-criticised Shane Duffy.

Duffy has been battered from pillar to post at Parkhead for an incredible run of poor form and high-profile mistakes. Terrible errors against the likes of Aberdeen, Rangers, AC Milan, Sparta Pragur, and Lille to name a few ended with him dropped for recent matches.

Out of nowhere, he was given a reprieve against Lille in our dead-rubber last night. Up against multi-million-pound strikers Jonathan Ikone and Jonathan David, it was yet another acid test for the Republic of Ireland international.

Whisper it quietly, but he actually came through it well. Sure, he had his slight errors. There was one clumsy handball that he gave away when it looked easier to control, whilst there were a couple of loose passes in the first 45.

Duffy produced a positive performance last night

However, Duffy grew into the game and was extremely dominant in the air, winning all of the aerial duels that came his way.

Stat-experts WhoScored gave the centre-back a decent 6.64/10 for his display, and he actually had the highest percentage for passing accuracy out of everyone in the team with 85.2%.

In addition to that, the on-loan Brighton man managed three interceptions, six clearances, and two blocked shots in what was a fine night’s work for him.

Celtic centre-back Shane Duffy vs Lille (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Look, it’s not going to solve any of the errors he’s already made, and there’s still a long way to go before Duffy will convince supporters that he’s still the answer.

But he has to use last night’s win against Lille as a major turning point. If this isn’t a building block for him then he really should just head back to the Premiership club. The fact is he was part of a solid defence last night and he played his part.

This Sunday, Celtic face Kilmarnock at Parkhead. Duffy deserves to keep his place. Here’s hoping he gets his opportunity and he can finally start to build a career here.