SHANE DUFFY may be trying too hard to impress at his boyhood heroes Celtic.
That’s the verdict of Hoops’ legendary goalkeeper Pat Bonner as the Republic of Ireland international centre-back has been in the direct line of criticism from some quarters after recent less-than-impressive performances.
The on-loan Brighton defender has struggled along with his team-mates with the team shipping eight goals in three games and was blamed for at least one of Aberdeen’s three goals in Sunday’s 3-3 draw at Pittodrie where a stoppage-time penalty-kick scuppered the champions’ hopes of a dramatic comeback.
Duffy dithered to allow Scott Wright to rob him of the ball before Ryan Hedges snapped up a rebound off Scott Bain before putting Derek McInnes’ side back in front following Callum McGregor’s brilliant equaliser.
Goals from Leigh Griffiths and Ryan Christie, from the penalty spot, had the visitors heading for a well-merited victory until Lewis Ferguson fired in his second spot-kick of the afternoon.
Bonner, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “Shane has proved himself as a top- class defender.
“He’s got loads of experience at the top level in England and in international games with Republic of Ireland.
“He has got a lot of good attributes and I am sure Celtic will have seen them, as well. What I would say is: ‘Play safe’.
“Take the risk out of your game. Get back to doing the basics well. If that means the ball has to go out of the park, then so be it.
“If it means going up to the frontmen early, then that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Duffy can just go and do what he’s good at.
“We’ve seen him doing it for a number of years with Ireland, but he’s asked to do a different role in that team as they play a different style to Celtic.
“But that doesn’t mean he can’t play to his strengths at club level.”
TARGET MAN…Shane Duffy has come in for some criticism.
Irish icon Bonner added: “It has been difficult for him, but it’s always tough for a centre-half coming into a new club. When you arrive at a new club you don’t want to be walking into the place and being the big man right away.
“You want to find your feet, learn about your team-mates and grow into that role.
“But it’s almost as if he’s been expected to have this leadership role right from the minute he came in the door. It’s probably his own choice as he’s that kind of player.
“It is a lot to take on your shoulders, though, when you are trying to adapt to playing for a new team.
“There’s no doubt he’s made some mistakes and he’ll be the first to admit it. It could be that he’s trying too hard to impress.
“There is always immense pressure when you play with a club like Celtic.
“That’s another reason he should simplify his game and stick to doing what he does best. He’s going through a difficult spell right now, but, the type of character he is, I’m sure he’ll come through it and Celtic supporters will see the best of him.”