Celtic fans took a special interest in events in Sofia last night with Shane Duffy at the centre of attention.
New manager Stephen Kenny handed the defender the armband as a new era kicked off in Irish football with the on-loan Celt chosen to lead from the front.
Covering the match for Sky Sports Mick McCarthy’s enthusiasm for Duffy was obvious which was another endorsement towards the type of defender that most Celtic fans are looking to see in their side.
Ireland were rarely troubled during the first half with Duffy getting time to bring the ball out of defence, feeding the more creative players around him.
Eleven minutes into the second half the game changed when Kraev put Bulgaria in front- it didn’t make for comforting viewing.
Duffy and John Egen were opened up by one pass, Kraev took the ball perfectly and enjoyed some good fortune netting through Darren Randolph’s legs. It’s a goal that Kenny and his coaches will study in analysis, it’s unlikely that Duffy and Egen will be that far apart against Finland on Monday.
Ireland fell out the game, substitutions were made without making an impact but two minutes into the five of stoppage time a corner was awarded on the left.
Robbie Brady flighted the ball into the box perfectly, Duffy timed his move perfectly, it was text book stuff as he rose and headed downwards inside the unguarded post.
McCarthy was as delighted and pleased as the new management team with thousands of watching Celtic fans feeling a little more confident about the season ahead.
“Frustrating result but delighted to get another goal…”
— FAIreland ???? (@FAIreland) September 3, 2020
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) September 3, 2020
@shaneduffy congratulations on a great goal last night. Welcome to paradise and can’t wait for the return of fans to CP. Public Health first though.
— Louise Tierney (@LouiseTierney) September 4, 2020
Have you a Shane Duffy song written yet? ?????
— Bigirishmc10 (@Bigirishcelt) September 4, 2020
thought we deserved more than a point though. was a great 1st performance in charge for stephen kenny.
— kieran brown (@_jammer_) September 4, 2020
Shane Duffy 93rd minute ??????
What a week ??
— Gerry Ward (@G3WRD) September 4, 2020
No heading it a mile over there Picked his spot and bang! Knew it was in as he has already turned away! Well done @shaneduffy
— BIG MAVERICK (@bigmaverick1) September 4, 2020
Get in there big Duff ??
— 10 In a Row (@10InaRow6) September 4, 2020