HAVING waited his whole life to experience the thrill of walking out at a packed Celtic Park in the Hoops, Shane Duffy is prepared to wait to fulfil that dream just a little bit longer. And perhaps even into next season, if that’s what it takes.

In many ways, the start to Duffy’s Celtic career could scarcely have gone better. Two games, two wins, two goals for him and just the one conceded. But he would be lying if he said that the experience won’t quite live up to the way he lived it in his head countless times as a kid until the Celtic support are there to cheer him on.

Whether that will happen during his season-long loan from Brighton remains to be seen, but Duffy is open to exploring the idea of extending that stay regardless, and very keen to look into his options should that not be the case.

“I haven’t been able to experience the full thing through a full stadium or even a packed-out away end,” said Duffy.

“It’s a real disappointment for me obviously, but that’s just the world we live in now.

“I’m hoping all this madness goes away and I can really enjoy Celtic Park as the special place that it is.

“I’m hoping and praying all this will be done before the end of the season – or else I might have to come back!

“I’m not sure how it will work at the minute to be honest. I’m just focusing on being here for this year but obviously if it’s successful then the two clubs have to sit down and talk to each other.

“But I’m just focusing on enjoying this season and trying to be successful.”

It is Duffy’s prowess in the opposition box that has caught the eye in his two matches for Celtic to date, but the Irishman is more concerned by what is happening in the other box where he earns his bread and butter.

He is keen to emphasise that defending is what he has been brought to Glasgow to do, but has belief that his rich vein of goalscoring form will continue.

“I must have played every position when I was a kid, I think everyone does,” he said. “But since I started taking it serious it was always defence.

“I played other positions at school, but other than that I was always a big ‘head and kick it’ man.’

“I’m delighted with the results, which is the main thing. It was also good to get off to a good start with a couple of goals and, hopefully, there’s more to come.

“Personally, I think that I can score in every game if I get the chances. Celtic get a lot more free-kicks and corners than the other teams I’ve played for so that gives me the opportunity to compete in the box and get my head on the ball.

“Scoring isn’t the main thing I concentrate on – that’s keeping clean sheets and winning games but scoring is a part of my game I’ve always wanted to improve.

“I should have scored many more goals in my career but I’ve missed a lot of chances and that’s something I want to cement. I want to convert more of the openings that come my way, but I’ve just got to keep at it and keep getting into the right positions and I know I’ll score eventually.”

Duffy knows something of the pressures of competing for titles having played his part in Brighton winning the English Championship previously, but he admits nothing compares to the pressure he feels even this early in the season with Celtic currently not at the top of the Premiership standings.

He is therefore keen to rectify that as soon as possible by overtaking Rangers, though he knows that climbing to the summit at this fledgling juncture of the campaign means more psychologically than materially.

“That’s why it’s important to beat Livingston and Wednesday’s win was important as well because that was one of our games in hand and it was an awkward place to go and play,” he said. “It’s a great motivation for us to be back on top of the league because I feel that we belong there.

“We can do that because Rangers don’t play until Sunday. We’ll wait and see how they get on, but we’ve got to take care of ourselves first by going out there and getting the job done.

“The most important time to be on top is at the end of the season. The team which does that deserves to be there, and we’ve got to make sure that’s us. Hopefully, we’ll get a few more wins before the next international break and take it on from there to have a good campaign.”