By Noel Whelan

17th Aug, 2021 | 5:00pm

Pundit slams 'stale' Celtic stars being put to shame by 'fearless' Welsh

Noel Whelan has claimed Stephen Welsh has “brought a new life” to Celtic since returning to the starting XI.

The former Aberdeen striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 21-year-old had brought a “passion” some senior stars had been missing

Welsh enjoyed a breakthrough season at Parkhead last season and started 13 of the Hoops’ 14 final league fixtures.

Ange Postecoglou dropped him for Nir Bitton against Hearts and the first leg tie against Jablonec.

However, the Australian boss has since reinstated Welsh to the starting XI for the last three games.

Welsh scored his second Celtic goal with a well-taken header in the League Cup win over Hearts on Sunday.

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Whelan suggested the youngster’s “fearless attitude” had been a “breath of fresh air” at Parkhead.

“We saw last year that the best players that played for Celtic last year were the young lads,” Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge.

“They brought a new life to that team with that fearless attitude. Claiming their place in the side against lots of experienced Celtic players that have been there years and years and years.

“I think this is what they needed. They needed this fresh breath of fresh air with the young boys coming in. That desire, that passion, that excitement about being in the first team.

“It seemed like a lot of first-team players had gone a little bit stale and they were taking their place for granted at times.

“I think now you’re seeing these kids come through and the elder statesmen, the more senior players, are thriving off them being in the side.

“It’s competition for places, it’s healthy and you need that. You need to bring your own homegrown (players) through. You need to bring these young players in and integrate them because they are the future of that club.

“I think they just give the energy, the excitement and that passion back that sometimes some players can lose. I think it’s great he’s claiming his spot and he’s certainly not going to give it up easily.”

In other news, Football Insider has dropped major update on Celtic bid to sign new defender.