SHANE DUFFY has opened up about life at Celtic and his struggles personally over the past year.
The Celtic defender credits Neil Lennon for taking him out of the team when he did and then reintroduced him for the Lille game on Thursday.
Shane said he knew he wasn’t playing at his best and agreed with the manager when he was taken out of the limelight.
Duffy came in on loan from Brighton but after his first run of games, many Celtic supporters wanted him to pack his bags.
The Irishman explains the difficulties he’s experienced trying to get going and the things going on in the background which has hampered his progress.
Speaking to SunSport, the Ireland captain gives an open and honest opinion of where he was and where he wants to get to over the coming weeks.
“The Celtic fans haven’t seen me before and since I’ve come into the club I haven’t been me.
“I understand the criticism. I wouldn’t be happy with myself either to be honest, if I was watching me play from the stands.
“I’m realistic and know what levels I can get to.
“I’ll just keep chipping away and it’ll be a lot more than this to keep me down.
“I’ve had a tough year and no-one really sees what goes on behind the scenes in people’s lives.
“My dad was a massive part of my life and I lost him.
“It’s hard as he was the one I’d speak to about everything in life. My two kids also live back in Derry and I’m up here alone.
“With the Covid restrictions I can’t really interact with the team as much as I’d like.
“But I’m big and ugly enough to understand I have got to do better on the park. That’s what I’m paid to do and it’s a job I love.
“It’s up to me to get my head down but I know what this club means to the lads and what it means to me and my family.
“Maybe I took things a little bit to heart and was trying too hard to do well here and not let everyone down.
But it affected me when things weren’t going well and I was all over the show. That’s just me being honest.
“It’s been tough. It’s hard for me to explain because this isn’t the way I wanted things to go. I’m my own biggest critic as well.
“I need to dig in. I’ve had a lot of tougher things that’s happened to me in my life and have coped.
“I know my form hasn’t been good enough but I also know I can come back stronger.
“The gaffer has been brilliant with me. I actually felt he took me out of the team at the right time because my form wasn’t good.
“He’s done the right thing by me and picked the time to bring me back in.
“I watched the team from the sidelines and was able to see what I could learn.
“I feel I’m still getting to know the players and it’s not been easy. But it was obvious to see my form had dipped.
“However, I have a great manager who’s been brilliant with me.
“He knows all about it, having been at Celtic for so long — and he knows what to do with me.
“He also knows what kind of player I am and how determined I am to bring something positive to this team.
“That’s why I’m not getting carried away. It’s been a good week but I still have a lot more to show Celtic fans.”
“Listen, there’s been ugly scenes and that’s not really what Celtic is about.
“The stuff today with them backing you, it gives you goosebumps.
“I wish the stadium was full and I could really experience it, but I’m hoping I get the chance.
“It’s a special club with special supporters.
“We know they are always behind us. As any supporter is, they are frustrated as they know there is a lot more in the team and we haven’t shown it.
“We’ve had a terrible Europa League, the Rangers game and a couple of draws. They are frustrated and I understand it.
“I’ve grown up with it all my life. You just put it aside and get back to basics to try and get this team flowing again and get on a roll.”
“As a team we haven’t performed like we want. It’s not been good enough from everyone.
“But we’ve stuck together and feel like we’re coming out of it on the right side.
“We’re taking things step by step.”
Duffy secured all three points for Celtic at Parkhead against Kilmarnock with a brilliant header and also helped the team earn a clean sheet. The bhoys now have a Scottish Cup final to contest on Sunday, with a quadtreble at stake.