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Celtic set to complete one-year loan deal for Brighton defender Shane Duffy

Celtic are poised to tie up a one-year loan deal for Republic of Ireland central defender Shane Duffy.

Speaking after Sunday’s 3-0 win over Motherwell, manager Neil Lennon promised new signings during the international break.

Sportsmail first revealed Celtic’s interest in the no-nonsense defender on August 13.

And despite interest from West Ham and West Brom, talks with Brighton were last night edging towards a successful conclusion after the 28-year-old expressed the wish to move to Glasgow.

Despite Brighton seeking a £2million loan fee and a large chunk of his wages, a deal could be finalised by the middle of this week.

New £3.25million midfielder David Turnbulll was an unused substitute against his old club yesteday as Lennon admitted further signings are in the pipeline despite last week’s Champions League exit to Ferencvaros.

‘I think so, yeah,’ said the Celtic boss. ‘I don’t know how many but hopefully there will be one or two new faces coming in.’

Relieved to see his side bounce back from their Euro nightmare with a win, Lennon insisted he is not pursuing a managerial ego trip by leaving big-money strikers Albian Ajeti and Patryk Klimala out of his starting 11.

Robbed of injured Odsonne Edouard, he went with midfielder Ryan Christie up front against Ferencvaros and did the same again against a Motherwell side who now slide to the foot of the league.

Ajeti came off the bench to score the second goal within five minutes of his introduction, while £3.5million Pole Patryk Klimala also made a second-half impact

Reiterating his stance that the pair are not yet match fit, however, Lennon said the lack of a striker in his starting line-up has never been a matter of personal choice.

‘Listen, I make decisions and you live and die off them for what you think is for the benefit of the club. It’s not some sort of ego trip,’ he said. ‘I have always put the players first and the club first.

‘I expected criticism after the (Ferencvaros) game and the volume of criticism is sometimes out of sync and balance. But you learn to live with that and we had a good response today from the players.

‘No one is more sore about going out of the Champions League than myself. It’s on my CV now that result, but I have to park that and move forward.’

The decision to go with Christie up front once more threatened to backfire until James Forrest smashed a timely first goal of the season five minutes before half-time. Strikes from Ajeti and Christopher Jullien allayed the threat of more anger from supporters.

‘You’ve just got to go with your gut instinct to go with the same team,’ added Lennon. ‘I thought that, in isolation, we dominated Ferencvaros and should have won – we didn’t. And then it’s all down to the fact we didn’t play a centre forward, but none of them are fit enough to start and you can see that today.

‘The likes of Edouard and (Leigh) Griffiths aren’t here either, they are injured, (Tom) Rogic is injured, (Mikey) Johnston is injured.

‘It was the best team we felt could have picked today to start the game and we felt it was the right way to go.’

With Ajetic called up to face Ukraine and Germany in forthcoming Nations League qualifiers, Lennon has already warned Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic of concerns over the player’s fitness.

‘We’ve an issue because Albian has been called up and we have let the Swiss know he is not fully match fit.

‘So whether he goes and comes back or does some conditioning work and maybe plays ten or 15 minutes I don’t know.

‘I’ve not said I don’t want him to play, but he is not match fit. They will take a view on that when they see him and Albian is of the same opinion

‘Edouard is injured, so he won’t be going with France under-21s.’

Left-back is another position Lennon wants to strengthen after Boli Bolingoli’s three-match SFA ban for breaching Covid guidelines.

Asked if the Belgian’s Celtic career is over, Lennon said: ‘I wouldn’t be so definite, but it might be something we think about, that’s for sure. We are going to think about it very, very intensely and make a decision in the next week or so.’

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