Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has defended Celtic’s Shane Duffy outlining that he feels the criticism levelled at the defender isn’t warranted.
Shane Duffy has made a difficult start to life at Celtic, with the Hoops struggling of late, sitting behind Rangers in the Scottish Premiership table and bottom of their Europa League group.
Defensive frailties have plagued the club and they were on show once again against Sparta Prague on Thursday night as Celtic fell to a 4-1 loss.
Criticism has been levelled at Duffy in particular, despite a host of Celtic players struggling of late, and Kenny believes some of the backlash has been over the top.
“Shane is a tough character,” said Stephen Kenny ahead of Celtic’s game with Sparta Prague, in quotes reported by the Irish Mirror.
“There’s a saying in Derry: ‘take your oil’. Sometimes you have to accept criticism and show your qualities.
“The criticisms aren’t even warranted. I don’t agree with it. He made a mistake against Aberdeen but his performances were quite good when he went there first.
“There was a tough run for him with the three games for us, the travelling and then going back in on the Thursday and straight into the Old Firm game.
“Had they beaten Aberdeen 3-2 it might not have been highlighted.
“But they gave away a penalty in the last minute and drew 3-3 so then it gets highlighted because they dropped points.
Duffy has long been one of Ireland’s most consistent players and has performed well so far in Kenny’s brief spell in charge of the Boys in Green.
Kenny will be hoping Duffy can re-find form ahead of Ireland’s upcoming games against
“He had had one game in nine months for Brighton, against Liverpool. You can’t not play for months and then step it up for international level.
“In the three games last month, we hardly conceded any chances and he made a vital block in Slovakia.
“He only went back to Scotland on the Thursday and had a major dental procedure that kept him up through the night.
“Then he had to play on Saturday at 12pm against Rangers with no sleep and then straight into Milan and Aberdeen in that week.
“It was just a really, really tough run of fixtures. He started well for Celtic, it was just after those three games that he’s been criticised.
“But Shane Duffy has been brilliant for Ireland: selfless, plays with injuries, a warrior and he’ll be a success at Celtic, I’ve no doubt.”