John Kennedy praises Celtic's Efe Ambrose's return to the starting lineup this season

Celtic Stands

The Nigerian international has been getting more regular starts in Ronny Deila's second season at Celtic Park.

Celtic coach John Kennedy has praised defender Efe Ambrose after his recent performances, in comments appearing in the Daily Record, having once again become a regular starter for the Scottish champions.

The Nigerian was a major figure in Neil Lennon's final two seasons in charge in Glasgow, and the 26-year-old went on to feature in the World Cup for his country in 2014.

However, things weren't so good once Norwegian Ronny Deila took charge at Celtic Park, with the powerful defender losing his first team spot midway through the season and instead having to settle with filling in in a variety of positions.

The Bhoys remain somewhat short in defence ahead of their tie against Fenerbahce on Thursday, with Jozo Simunovic still having featured in just one match so far this season, the opening draw with Ajax. Though Kennedy has said the Croat will be in full training before the Europa League match later in the week, the former Scotland defender was full of praise for the way in which Ambrose has returned to the starting lineup.

"We hope he's okay. He has started light training again so hopefully on Tuesday he will pretty much join in the full session and come back into it," Kennedy is quoted by the Record as saying. "But the big positive is Efe has come in and done really well for us.

"He's been patient. He has found himself out of the team when maybe he thought he might have had a chance, but he has trained well and he has certainly come in and done a great job for us in recent weeks. So there is competition there as well."

Ambrose has started the last three matches for Celtic, having been rotated into the first eleven for much of the earlier part of the season.

But despite seeing red late on in the recent draw with Hearts, 32-year-old Kennedy had the utmost confidence in his ability.

"He has done it under Neil Lennon for a long time," Kennedy added. "He has made some errors in the past, as all players do. He has probably been unfortunate at times to find himself out the team.

"But he is a great professional, a terrific player to work with, and when he is concentrated he can put in good performances like he has shown in recent weeks."

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