IF opposition teams once viewed Celtic’s defence and its soft centre as a chance to make hay against the champions, then those days are firmly over with the arrival of Shane Duffy.

That’s the view of the uncompromising centre-half’s former manager and ex-Celtic hero Paul Lambert, who built his Blackburn Rovers backline around the Irish rock when he was in charge at Ewood Park.

Christopher Jullien, for all of his qualities, has seemed to struggle with the physical challenge posed to him by the likes of former Livingston striker Lyndon Dykes and Kilmarnock forward Nicke Kabamba, but rather than shirk from such contests, Lambert says that the 28-year-old Duffy was born for them.

“He’ll be fine with that, that’s not an issue with him at all,” Lambert said. “He’ll take that absolutely no problem. You’re not going to outmuscle him, that’s for sure.

“It will be new for him having most of the ball every week and dictating games, but when you have to defend, he will defend. I can’t see many people getting the better of him physically, I really can’t see that happening.

“He’s a proper defender. He’ll put his body on the line, he’ll go and head things and he’ll be really aggressive.

“He’s a really big lad, and at the time I had him at Blackburn, I thought him and big Grant Hanley were excellent for me. He’s a proper centre-half and I think he’ll do great.

“He’ll take no nonsense. I don’t know the two Celtic lads at centre-half at all at the minute, but I think that Shane will add a bit of steel there. He’ll tell people if they’re not doing it, he’s that type of lad.

“He’s a good guy, a good character, and he will love that opportunity to go and play for Celtic.”

It may be a natural assumption to make that having been brought up as a Celtic supporter, that playing for the club will be an experience that holds no real surprises for Duffy. But Lambert has warned his former charge that nothing can prepare him for what he is about to walk into.

“The only thing I think he’ll need to get used to is the demands of the football club itself, because you have to win every game at Celtic,” he said. “If he can handle that, then I think he’ll be a great signing for the club.

“Hopefully the fans will be back soon, and he’ll see Celtic Football Club for what it is; the size of it, the fanbase behind it. Every pass is scrutinised, his defending will be scrutinised.

“I think he’ll be a great, great signing for them as long as he can handle the expectancy level of winning every single week. If he can do that, he’ll be fine.

“It doesn’t matter if you have supported Celtic all your days, it’s a completely different thing playing for them.

“You know you have to please so many people there, and respect the club for what it is. It is a massive football club, and when you play there you are representing a great global club.

“It’s not just a European club, it’s global, Celtic. You have to grasp that really quickly with it.

“So, it doesn’t matter if Shane has been a Celtic fan all his days, it will be a totally different thing playing for them.

“He’ll be able to handle it, I think, and as long as he gets used to that winning habit, he’ll be fine.

“If he can realise what he is playing for then he will do great.”

Of course, the pressure that normally weighs on the shoulders of players in Glasgow will be all the greater this season, and it is a pressure that Lambert himself knows only too well from his own time at Celtic.

“We stopped Rangers getting 10 in-a-row, which was incredible pressure at that time against an incredible Rangers side at that time,” he said.

“We were excellent though and deserved to win it. Now, Rangers are trying to stop Celtic making history, so it will be interesting.

“Shane will know the background of it, but it’s ok to hear about it, it’s another to sample it and he’ll have to be ready for it.

“No matter how many times you read about Celtic going for 10 in-a-row or Rangers trying to stop 10 in-a-row, you have to be in that environment to truly feel it and appreciate the emotion of it.

“I thought there was more pressure on us at the time, because we had to stop it. From a Rangers point of view, they had already equalled the nine.

“So, we had double the pressure on us, because if we hadn’t stopped it then that affects the history of the football club. The Lisbon Lions were carrying that record, and that would have been diminished.

“The pressure on Rangers is going to be severe, especially when the fans come back. It might be ok just now when the fans aren’t there, but when the fans come back then you ae there to be shot at, and the pressure will double without a doubt.

“Celtic have got the pressure of trying to make a bit of history, but they don’t have the pressure of losing history like Rangers have.

“It’s role reversal, but Shane will be a great signing for Celtic.”