Shane Duffy believes his father was looking down on him when he scored his late equaliser against Bulgaria on Thursday night.
Reflecting on his first international match since the death of his father in May, Shane Duffy admitted that he found it difficult to deal with the emotions of pulling on the Irish jersey knowing his father wouldn’t be watching at home.
But Duffy feels that his dad was watching from above when he rose high and found the net to rescue a draw in Stephen Kenny’s first game in charge of the Republic of Ireland
After the final whistle, Duffy said: “It was tough, of course. It’s the first game where he’s not been here, so it was emotional, of course. But I’m a professional, I want to play football, focus on the game and know last minute there, he was probably looking down on me.
"Frustrating result but delighted to get another goal…"
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) September 3, 2020
“But I’m a professional, I’ll get on with my career. I’ve got to move on, be strong and keep going, and that’s what I’m aiming to do.
“Overall I’m disappointed with the result and that we didn’t win the game, but it was important we didn’t lose the game.”
The Irish defender shouldered the blame for Bulgaria’s opener, which came courtesy of Bozhidar Kraev ten minutes after half-time but Duffy made up for what he described as “sloppy defending” when he powered a header into the bottom corner of the Bulgaria net in extra time.
Duffy followed up his post-match interview with a touching tribute to his father on social media.
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It’s been a tough year personally for me and tonight with not having my best game and my first ireland game without my dad it was an emotional one but I know he was with me tonight with how proud an Irish man he is and to score it was for him. Miss him everyday and hope to do him proud . Disappointed not to get the win tonight but we go again Sunday back in the Aviva ! 🇮🇪☘️
Captain for the evening, Duffy has had a busy week as he lined out for Ireland just a couple of days after sealing his dream move to Celtic.
According to reports, Celtic are already targeting a permanent move for the centre-half after agreeing an initial season-long loan with Brighton & Hove Albion.