It was a bit of a surprise when Neil Lennon handed Celtic centre-back Stephen Welsh only his second ever Hoops start in Saturday’s Glasgow derby.
The player was thrown into the biggest game of his career due to an injury to Christopher Jullien and the Covid-19 related absences of Hatem Elhamed and Nir Bitton. The game didn’t go the way any Celtic supporter would have wanted, as the Hoops slumped to a 2-0 defeat.
However, one of the few players that can hold his head high and be pleased with his performance on the day is Welsh.
Played like he had been in team every week
He played well, and you would never have known that he was starting only his second ever professional game for the club.
At times, it did look like he lacked experience. However, that was always going to happen when he hasn’t played a league game since the 4-1 win over Hamilton in February.
Let’s be honest, there is a big difference in playing in that game than there is in a Glasgow derby. The derby is the biggest league game in Scotland, whereas a game against Hamilton is just another league game.
However, Welsh looked like he was a veteran of the Celtic side, and he put some of his higher profile teammates to shame with his display.
Some Celtic fans on social media were impressed with how Welsh performed. One fan claimed that he was ‘the best player in a Celtic top’.
A rare positive on a bad day
Another proclaimed Welsh to be ‘solid’. There aren’t many positives that can be taken out of Celtic’s display against Rangers. It was a performance best forgotten. However, Welsh’s performance is certainly one of them.
His Celtic career could get the kickstart it needs after this display. That could be a silver lining to come out of a day that Celtic fans will be looking to forget in a hurry.
Here are some of the best reactions from Twitter to Welsh’s performance:
Wee welsh didn’t step a foot wrong he done good today
— Declan McMurray (@DeclanMcmurray) October 17, 2020
Welsh > Jullien
— Nic Millar🍀 (@_nicmillar) October 17, 2020
@ClydeSSB stephen welsh best player on park for celtic.
— Stephen Kennedy (@Stephen85859787) October 17, 2020
Stephen Welsh up there with Laxalt today. Chucked in last minute and another boy who never put a foot wrong. One of a few players who’ve never played in an old firm and played it like he does it every week
— M (@MLappin_) October 17, 2020
Fair play to Stephen Welsh not easy to come in and play in there today in that system, made mistakes but also had some good moments. Laxalt decent . Klimala , our people will call your people. Not making a change at half time unbelievable to me
— Jonathan Burns (@twistandturns_J) October 17, 2020
20 year old Stephen Welsh was the best player in a Celtic top after not playing a game of football since last season
— Li🦠m🕳 (@Griffin67Liam) October 17, 2020
Stephen welsh is a solid wee player
— Logan (@loganspeed7) October 17, 2020