McLeish excited by eyecatching Welsh at Celtic amid Sky journalist's team news reveal

Alex McLeish has claimed the emergence of eyecatching Stephen Welsh has given Celtic a boost in recent weeks after the team’s “massive” loss of confidence.

The former Rangers and Scotland manager, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested the young centre-back had thrived by playing alongside the likes of Kristoffer Ajer and admitted any injury layoff would be a big blow for the Bhoys.

Sky Sports reporter Anthony Joseph has reported the 21-year-old avoided any serious damage after being stretchered off against St Mirren and he is being assessed ahead of this weekend’s game versus St Johnstone.

Welsh has now started Celtic’s last three Premiership games, all of which have ended in victory, and he netted his first goal in the win over Motherwell.

McLeish has admitted the sight of the stretcher would have been worrying for everyone at Parkhead after the lift his performances have given the team.

McLeish told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge: “They’ll be hoping the young kid is okay, you can see that he’s getting confidence playing alongside Ajer who’s marshalling him as well.

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“It depends on the seriousness of it, when the swelling goes down and the medical team make an announcement, then we’ll know to what extent he’s injured.

“Certainly, confidence-wise, to come into a Celtic team that has been struggling, let’s face it, the loss of confidence in the dressing room was massive.

“He’s coming into an environment where he’s got the more senior players back playing alongside him – McGregor, Brown, Ajer, Jonjoe Kenny is good on that side for Welsh as well.

“That’s quite a strong back four, it’s a back-four where the full-backs are let go when the time is right but they know when to hold, when they’ve been exposed in recent weeks.”

Welsh, a graduate of the youth ranks at Parkhead, now has 10 first-team appearances under his belt for Celtic.

In other news, Frank McAvennie has ripped into a Celtic star who touched the ball less than Scott Bain against St Mirren.