Shane Duffy says he has “turned a page” mentally after enduring an extremely difficult year on loan at Celtic.
The Republic of Ireland defender suffered online abuse after suffering a loss of form in Glasgow and lost his place in Celtic’s starting lineup.
Duffy has come under fire for some of his performances as Celtic’s back-to-back title hopes went up in smoke and returned to Brighton early after injury ruled him out of the last two games of the season.
“I think it’s been well noted that I’ve had a tough time on and off the pitch,” said Duffy. “I feel like I handled it the best I could.
“I didn’t expect it to be like this, but this is the backhand I have and I’m tall and ugly enough to face it and come out the other side.
“This season is over now and I feel mentally that I have turned a page, and I’m not going to stop now. I’m going to continue all summer and be ready for the preseason and start racing.
“I feel like I had a year off where I didn’t play my best stuff and I’m ready to pick that up next season.”
Duffy, meanwhile, thinks it would be “foolish” to cancel Ireland’s World Cup qualifying hopes with just two games remaining in the campaign.
The back-to-back defeats to Serbia and Luxembourg minnows in March represented the worst possible start for Stephen Kenny’s men and with Portugal, Azerbaijan and the comeback against Serbia coming in September their task will not be over. easy.
However, center-back Duffy, who played in the Euro 2016 finals, is adamant that there is too much football to play to still be certain of how Group A plays out.
He said: “You still have that belief. It was only a few games played and if you write us off now that would be stupid I would say.
“We’re just getting started, hopefully, and it’s about performances turning into results and we’re going to shock a few teams, hopefully, and get going.
“We are convinced the manager has the right thing to do here and hopefully with the players and Covid and stuff like that we can get going.”
The qualifying losses came in the middle of an 11-game winless streak early in Kenny’s reign and required him to answer questions about his methods and the overhaul of the squad he led to give his luck to young people.
They followed a heartbreaking Euro 2020 qualifying exit on penalties in Slovakia – a game for which the manager, not for the last time, has been deprived of key players by coronavirus protocols.
However, after seeing his team end their wait for a victory in Andorra last Thursday night, then followed up with a 0-0 draw in Hungary on Tuesday night in which youngsters Gavin Bazunu, Caoimhin Kelleher and Adam Idah played key roles. , Duffy believes there is cause for optimism.
He said: “Look, we’re obviously disappointed with the year we’ve had. We think we don’t really get what we deserve, but it’s football and we’ve been very unlucky with some situations with it. injured players and Covid.
“We know we have to improve and we know we have to get results in qualifying games. We got off to a bad start so there is a lot to do, but these 10 days together make us feel like it is over. a course and hopefully we can build on it. “