Former Celtic and Liverpool star sends 'frenetic' message to Brighton's Shane Duffy after Parkhead struggles

Struggling Brighton loanee Shane Duffy has been backed by former Celtic defender Gary Gillespie to put his troubles behind him and prove himself a hit in the Scottish Premiership

Shane Duffy has struggled to establish himself in Neil Lennon's first team
Shane Duffy has struggled to establish himself in Neil Lennon's first team

Duffy has struggled to find his best form since joining the Scottish champions on loan from Premier League outfit Brighton in September.

The Ireland international has been unable to establish himself in Neil Lennon's team and hasn’t made the starting XI since the 4-1 defeat to Sparta Prague in the Europa League last month.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

Duffy however was offered words of encouragement from ex-Scotland centre half Gillespie, who faced similar problems when he joined Celtic from Liverpool for £925,000 back in 1991.

Gillespie said it took him time to adapt to the unique demands of Scottish football but feels Duffy has the talent and attitude to be a success north of the border.

“It will take him time to adjust,” Gillespie said. “The game in Scotland is far more frenetic. That was certainly my experience when I joined Celtic from Liverpool.

"It wasn’t quicker, but it could be madder with players running about all over the pitch.

“It was a difficult league to play in. It was a hard change to go from a successful Liverpool side in England to playing for Celtic in Scotland.

“I thought Shane was an ideal fit for Celtic when he joined them, but he has struggled. Still, he is a seasoned pro and seems to me to be a good lad.

"Fingers crossed it will turn around for him.

“It isn’t easy. If you are winning football matches and beating Rangers you will be fine, but if you aren’t doing that people will point the finger and look for scapegoats.

"Shane has come under that microscope a little bit.”

The fact Steven Gerrard's Rangers are 13 points ahead of Celtic has not made it easy for Duffy to settle.

Lennon's men have been far from their best this season as they bid to win a record 10th successive league title.

Lennon's position is under severe pressure and has not been helped by arrests and protests outside the stadium.

“Signings are always a calculated gamble, a calculated risk,” Gillespie said. “Some players will settle in really quickly, some won’t.

"In the modern game, recruitment is key.

“If you recruit well your manager reaps the rewards of that. If you don’t do that then the manager finds himself under a lot of pressure.

"You have spent a lot of money and that isn’t showing in performances on the field. Fans will always look at the signings, look at the money that has been spent, look at how much players are getting paid.

“But Celtic for me still have the better squad and the stronger squad. For some reason, that isn’t being reflected in their performances on the pitch at the moment.

"I think Celtic have greater strength in depth than Rangers have and that could be important as they go into the second half of the season.”