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DUFFY DILEMMA

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SHANE DUFFY’S loan move to Celtic has baffled one of Neil Lennon’s former Northern Ireland international team-mates.

The Brighton central defender joined his boyhood heroes in the summer when he agreed a season-long loan switch which will cost the champions around £2million.

However, after scoring goals in his opening games against Ross County and St Mirren, he has found himself on the substitutes’ bench and played no part of the 1-1 draw with St Johnstone at Parkhead on Sunday with Lennon pairing Christopher Jullien and Nir Bitton in the heart of his rearguard.

Steve Lomas, who had a spell in Scotland as boss at the Perth club, has admitted he can’t quite fathom the move – and he doesn’t think striker Albian Ajeti, a £5million recruit from West Ham, is a good fit, either.

The former Hammers and Manchester City midfielder, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I could not believe they brought in the lad Duffy. At Brighton and the Republic of Ireland, they sit deep and there’s no space in behind. The full-back on his side never goes forward.

“They tend to stay in the slot because they don’t want to get exposed.

“At Celtic, they dominate the ball and force the game. They’ve got to play a high line, especially when Frimpong plays, so Duffy has to defend one-v-one when the ball’s turned over and he’s just not quick enough.

“All teams are doing is staying on the side where Celtic are attacking and if you win the ball, you stick someone with pace in the channel – and it’s one ball and he’s in.

“The SPFL might not have the quality of the top league down south, but as a defender you’re asked to defend and if your mobility is not great, you’re in big trouble.

“And I watched Ajeti quite a lot at West Ham and he’s just a finisher. You can’t play 4-3-3 with him. He needs a partner.”

The Swiss international has not scored since September and, like Duffy, played no part in Sunday’s stalemate.

Both could get a chance of game-time in Thursday night’s meaningless Europa League Group H match against Lille at Parkhead.

 
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