By Alex McLeish

22nd Oct, 2020 | 12:00pm

'Absolutely Massive' - Exclusive: McLeish dazzled by barely-seen Celtic player

Alex McLeish insists young defender Stephen Welsh “didn’t look out of place” after being thrown into the Celtic starting XI against Rangers.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Rangers and Scotland boss claims the 20-year-old centre-back coped with the “absolutely massive” magnitude of the game.

Welsh was a surprise inclusion in the Bhoys’ line up as Neil Lennon had to make do without the likes of Christopher Jullien and Nir Bitton at the heart of his defence.

McLeish admits he was hugely impressed with what he saw from the promising defender and insists he did nothing wrong despite the 2-0 defeat.

McLeish told Football Insider: “He didn’t do anything wrong, Rangers won with the two set-pieces. 

“The lad didn’t look out of place and you have to say, to go into that kind of cauldron – I know there was no crowd there but still, to go and play against Rangers, I’m sure that the player and Neil Lennon and co would have rapped it into him.

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“He knows himself, the kid, having seen a lot of Old Firm games before about how the intensity is absolutely massive and he’ll have even seen it when the young lads played against each other.” 

A graduate of the youth system at Parkhead, Welsh has played just twice for Celtic’s senior side so far.

His only other appearance came back in February when he started in a 4-1 win over Hamilton.

In other Celtic news, Frank McAvennie has ripped into senior Hoops stars for their treatment of teammate.