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Charlie Nicholas says Shane Duffy looks lost in current Celtic formation

Shane Duffy

Charlie Nicholas is the latest to jump on the Shane Duffy pile-on amid the Celtic defender’s struggles at Parkhead.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has defended Shane Duffy after a rough few performances in October for the Irish centre-half that have sparked significant criticism from those close to the club.

The remarks from former Celtic man Kris Commons were perhaps the most scathing but Charlie Nicholas, who started his career with the Hoops, has now ridiculed Duffy’s performances in the current system.

“The onus was on Celtic to make themselves stronger over the summer and to be able to adapt to a 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, or any other formation,” Nicholas told the Express, via the Daily Record.

Charlie Nicholas

“Lennon seems to prefer a back three but he has brought in players who don’t necessarily perform best in that formation.

“Shane Duffy is one of them. He looks lost in a back three.

“This was a guy who was signed as a big, physical presence who would bully strikers. However, Celtic don’t need a bullying centre-half – they need a ballplaying one.”

Amid all the flak, Duffy’s international teammate James McClean has sent a message of support to the centre-half.

Shane Duffy

McClean took to social media with a picture of himself and his fellow Derryman along with a green heart and a muscle emoji.

McClean was linked with a move to Celtic in the summer and would likely have helped the club in their attempts to secure an incredible 10th Scottish Premiership title in a row.

But McClean remained at Stoke City, scoring last weekend, and Nicholas believes that Celtic are in serious danger of falling short in their bid to make it ten in a row.

“The biggest threat to Celtic ‘s charge for Ten In A Row is themselves,” Nicholas explained. “They are on the edge. It is not so much a case of worrying about the challenge of Rangers, but more about their own form.

Charlie Nicholas

“They need to sort themselves out before they even consider what is happening across the other side of the city.

“Celtic are in a hugely dangerous position. Celtic are in the midst of a run of games in which they are vulnerable and look stretched to the limit. They are on shaky ground.

“Lennon was brought back to the helm because the club knew their squad was the strongest in the country and he would guide them to success.

“The manager insists there is no panic but if they lose to Lille in the Europa League on Thursday and get knocked out of the Scottish Cup – killing their hopes of a fourth successive treble in the process – then it would transform the whole outlook of the season.

“That would put things under serious review, and I’m not referring to Lennon’s job.

“I mean, who is the manager going to trust in terms of his players and the formation he deploys?

“There is a long way to go in the title race. This is not the time to hit the panic button, but Lennon has a lot of pressure on him because there are five or six players in his starting line-up who aren’t doing the business.”

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