BBC pundit urges 'rash' Celtic player to 'manipulate' teammates in effort to shine

Pat Bonner has urged Celtic defender Shane Duffy to make a greater effort to organise and “manipulate” the players around him.

Shane Duffy.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Shane Duffy. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Brighton loanee has endured a torrid start to his temporary stint in Glasgow, and has struggled to produce his best form for Neil Lennon’s men so far.

The Republic of Ireland enjoyed a much more fruitful afternoon against Kilmarnock on Sunday afternoon, however, helping his side to maintain a clean sheet, and scoring the Hoops’ second with a towering header.

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Bonner was impressed with what he saw from the 28-year-old, and claimed that he can improve his game further by allowing those around him to cover for the natural shortfalls in his game.

Speaking to BBC Sportsound, the former Parkhead goalkeeper said: “The goal is a bonus – we started off with a goal in his first game against Ross County. He scored again today with a good header.

"There’s almost an element with Shane Duffy, you would expect him to be a real target in the box, but that’s not the part we’re looking at here, it’s the other part, the defensive qualities alongside Jullien.

"If he can build a partnership with Jullien, with Ajer playing out in that right-back position, it just looks a bit more solid.

"He doesn't have huge pace about him, Shane Duffy, so the front players in front of him have got to do a job for him and defend from the front, defend in midfield, but I think he has to use his own experience and his own communication skills to almost manipulate people.

"That helps the midfielder also when you have somebody at the back of him organising you to have a good defensive unit to defend properly. Then you can go and pick up your position to head the ball or put your tackles in.

"There will always be rash moments from Shane Duffy, that’s the kind of centre-half he is, but I’ve played behind a big man, and Mick McCarthy was exactly the same, but he bossed people around.

"The other thing I noticed with him, I actually noticed with the Irish team, he was trying to go for everything, and balls he shouldn’t be going for, and that was a slight change today, he was picking his moments.”