NEIL LENNON has defended Celtic fall guy Shane Duffy whose arrival at his boyhood favourites has seen his form nosedive.
The Republic of Ireland centre-back was seen as a key piece in the Hoops jigsaw when he joined in a £2million loan deal from Brighton in the summer.
Lennon was putting together a squad strong enough to claim the historic tenth successive title and it started well for the giant pivot when he scored on his debut in the 5-0 win over Ross County in Dingwall on September 12 and followed that up in the next match with another strike in a 2-1 comeback victory over St Mirren in Paisley.
However, it has been all downhill for Duffy since his immediate impact. He has struggled in games on the domestic and European fronts and has been an usused substitute in the last two games, a 4-0 success over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Tuesday and 2-1 over Motherwell in Glasgow today.
Lennon, though, insists there are reasons why the 29-year-old central defender has failed to convince – and is adamant he STILL has a chance to show his true worth to the team.
The Hoops boss, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Shane has just found it difficult to settle. He is up here on his own. Life away from the training ground is difficult for them all, but especially the guys who are up here on their own. You have to factor all that in.
“Shane will be the first to admit he has not been as good or as consistent as he can be.
“He will be massively disappointed with that because of the way he feels about the club. But there is still time for him to find his best form between now and the end of the season.”
However, it is more than likely Duffy will find himself back on the substitutes’ bench when the champions travel to face St Mirren in Paisley on Wednesday night.
Stephen Welsh and Kristoffer Ajer have been the partnership in the heart of the rearguard for the past two victories and are likely to again be given the nod by the manager to continue the good work.