Celtic boss Neil Lennon has told The Scotsman that he thinks this season has been ‘difficult’ for youngster Stephen Welsh.

The Bhoys beat Kilmarnock 4-0 on Tuesday night, with Odsonne Edouard bagging a brace between strikes from Scott Brown and Albian Ajeti.

Celtic needed that win after a dismal home defeat at the hands of St Mirren, and Lennon will be particularly delighted with the clean sheet.

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Celtic have been shakier defensively this season than previous years, with Shane Duffy’s dismal form playing a part in that.

The Bhoys have though handed first-team football to youngster Welsh, with the 21-year-old now firmly established as a first-team player.

Welsh had only made five first-team appearances before this season and spent part of last term on loan at Greenock Morton, so few could have anticipated him featuring regularly this term.

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Yet Lennon trusted him in big games against Rangers and AC Milan, and he featured at centre back with Kristoffer Ajer against Killie.

Lennon admitted that he was delighted with Welsh’s performance, claiming it has been a ‘difficult’ season for him as he adjusts to being a Celtic first-teamer, but feels he has largely been ‘very good’.

“I’m delighted with him because he’s been steady,” said He got thrown in at the deep end this season with Rangers and AC Milan. I wouldn’t say he’s struggled but it’s been difficult for him. He’s had a couple of games since then and he’s been very good. I was delighted with his performance and he should be,” he added.

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