Noel Whelan claimed Celtic were better without Shane Duffy after the Republic of Ireland international was dropped for win at Motherwell.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the former Aberdeen and Leeds United striker said that the 28-year-old has “really struggled” after a “whirlwind” of a start at Parkhead.

Neil Lennon selected Kristoffer Ajer and Nir Bitton at the heart of the defence for Sunday’s clash at Fir Park, the Hoops winning 4-1 to keep pace with league leaders Rangers.

It was the first time Duffy had been dropped from the starting eleven since his season-long loan move from Brighton in September.

The centre-half came under criticism for his performances after Celtic won just two of their previous seven games in all competitions.

When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on Duffy dropping to the bench, Whelan said: “It was a better performance without him.

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“He started off really well at Celtic but the last month or so he has really struggled. Too many little mistakes, he has struggled to perform.

“He is an exceptional player but he has been going through a bit of a bad spell.

“Defensively, he has been found out on many occasions. Neil Lennon was right to drop him.

“It is like Jordan Pickford. Sometimes it can be good to sit down and watch, give someone else their opportunity.

“For me, Jullien is the key. He is the defender that has always been consistent at the back.

“Duffy got off to such a flyer, it was a whirlwind but not he is struggling to find form and mistakes are creeping into his game and it is letting them down.” 

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