Neil Lennon shares Shane Duffy chat details after Celtic struggles

Neil Lennon has held one-to-one talks with Shane Duffy to help the stopper pull through his turbulent start at Celtic.

The Parkhead gaffer is adamant his loan signing will prosper and emerge stronger from a difficult spell which has seen him make mistakes and face stinging criticism for performances since joining from Brighton.

Lennon is backing the 28-year-old to the hilt and, ahead of Thursday’s Europa League crunch in Lille, has spoken with his centre-back to reinforce his belief in the defender and offer wholesome backing.

The boss, who has been boosted by the return of Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton, said: “He is a big strong boy. I had a chat with him the other night. He is feeling it obviously, but he knows he’ll come through it.

“We just need to show him a bit of patience. He made a mistake at the weekend [against Aberdeen]. The vitriol that comes after it is incredible, absolutely incredible.

“It is my job to support him and that is exactly what I will do and I will support the other players as well.”

Lennon says he knows exactly how Duffy is feeling and added: “It isn’t the first time the players have been thrown out into the lion’s den as it were in terms of insults and criticism.

“But no one more so than myself. I know exactly what he is going through. He has got the character and personality to bounce back straight away.

“Shane needs to find his feet. He has had a bumpy week, nothing more nothing less. It happens.

“He is a quality player. He has my full support, he has the team’s full support.”

Duffy is set to start tonight’s Group H clash in the Stade Pierre Mauroy and the manager is also ready to recall Scott Brown for the tie against the Ligue 1 high flyers.

The skipper was rested for last weekend’s Premiership game against Aberdeen at Pittodrie and only made an appearance from the substitutes bench in the second period in the 3-3 draw.

However, Lennon feels Brown’s qualities are ideal for the Euro showdown and has hinted that the captain will revert to his typical role at the heart of the midfield.

He said: “This game is well suited to Scott. He made a really positive contribution on Sunday at Aberdeen when he came on and he’s fresher.

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“The rest did him the world of good and, obviously, he’ll come into contention to start.”

Lennon, meanwhile, revealed Edouard and Bitton are in the mix for Lille .

The Celtic boss has been beset with problems arising from coronavirus and injuries, with the former ruling out France Under-21 striker Edouard and Israel defender Bitton for the last three matches.

There was a further boost provided by Bitton’s international colleague Hatem Elhamed. The defender also caught the virus while away with his country but he is on the way back, although has remained in Glasgow and will take no part in the Europa League showdown.

Greek goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, who missed Sunday’s 3-3 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie with a back problem has also made the journey to France.

And Lennon said: “Elhamed has stayed behind. Bitton and Edouard have travelled.

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“They are up to speed to play a part in the game whether we start them or not, that is something that we have to assess.

“I don’t think we can start the both of them but they’ll definitely be available to play some role in the game.”

Lennon, looking for a positive result in France after losing 3-1 at home to AC Milan in their group opener last week, expanded on his injury update.

He said: “Nir had it pretty heavy in terms of how much it took out of him. Physically he is getting there.

“Odsonne, it’s not been too bad for him. He seems pretty strong now, he has had a few days longer than Nir in terms of training with the boys and training on his own.

“Elhamed seems to have recovered quite well and hopefully he will be available at the weekend.

“Vasilis’s back seems to be OK. He has an on-going shoulder issue but nothing too strenuous.”

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