THE angst of Celtic supporters around the makeshift look of their defence for Tuesday night’s Champions League qualifier was only amplified when the most experience member of the quartet, Nir Bitton, was needlessly dismissed late in the first half.

Their fears proved somewhat unfounded. Dane Murray, the 18-year-old academy graduate, slotted in seamlessly beside the outstanding Stephen Welsh, looking hugely impressive and showing composure that belied his tender years.

Welsh, himself only 21, is therefore confident that his fledgling partnership with Murray at centre-back will be able to withstand anything that Midtjylland will throw at them in the return leg of the tie next Wednesday. Even if he is still a little annoyed about the manner of Bitton’s dismissal, with the Israeli being sucked in by the ‘gamesmanship’ of opponent Anders Dreyer.

“It was very soft anyway,” said Welsh. “Even before the incident there was a clear offside.

“We need to deal with it in the right way and go again next week, obviously without Nir. It’s a blow as he’s a good player.

“But Dane Murray was fantastic on his debut, both on the ball and defensively. He made me feel old!

“It was just another game for me. When Nir went off I had confidence in Dane coming in because he’s trained with us since last season.

“He’s been fantastic and I felt comfortable with him because he’s so good, for such a young player.

“He’s got a bright future ahead of him and he’ll be a big player for us.

“The manager has faith in him and as a young player that’s all you need. Someone to put trust in you to go and play with freedom.

“If Dane is selected next week then I’ve got massive confidence he can go there and put a performance in.”

As Welsh mentions, manager Ange Postecoglou’s belief in young Murray is absolute. He was not surprised to be repaid for that faith handsomely.

"Coming on to the pitch, a young guy who was born in 2003,” said Postecoglou. “I can remember 2003 very clearly.

“You know how young he is and he is not just coming on the pitch, he is facing a formidable opponent and with 10 men. But you know what? My gut instinct told me he wouldn't be fazed by it.

“I watched him in training and he is a young kid, not just with football potential, but personality and character that belies his age.

“I was quite happy to trust him out there and it was an important part of the game, we were

down to 10 men and we had to work very hard.”