MICHAEL Duffy says his goal against Scottish Championship winners, Rangers in front of 50,000 supporters at Ibrox on Sunday was the highlight of his season as the Celtic loanee took special pleasure in spoiling the party atmosphere.
And the former Derry City winger expects the backlash for his snubbing of Rangers’ guard of honour to die down soon, adding that he found the reaction to his refusal to partake in the pre-match pleasantries, amusing.
Duffy, who is part of the Hoops’ development squad, stood with his hands behind his back as his teammates clapped Rangers onto the pitch ahead of Alloa’s shock 1-1 draw at the Glasgow venue.
And he further infuriated the home fans when he opened the scoring for the Championship’s basement club, who will be plying their trade in League One next year, after just seven minutes as he raced in behind the Gers’ defence and powered his shot into the far corner from just inside the penalty area.
“It was a class feeling,” he said. “I’ve had a tough enough season but I’ve enjoyed it and the last month has been going well for me, especially to score at Ibrox - that’s just made my season.
“There’s nothing much else to it really. I play for Celtic so that’s the only real reason I did it,” he said of his snub to Rangers who return to the top flight after four years. “I’m sure it will all die down after a while but it’s funny to see everyone go mad about it. It’s just the way it is being a Celtic player.
It actually felt like it was a training goal it was just weird as the crowd were so loud the whole game. Walking out to that atmosphere was class. And then it went so quiet.Michael Duffy
“There probably wouldn’t have been that much of a deal made about it if Rangers had won,” he continued. “It was Rangers’ party day and they were expecting to thrash us because we’re bottom of the league. The day didn’t go the way they wanted it to go but that’s just the way it is. It just all happened to work out well for me,” he smiled.
When he scored the opening goal for the ‘Wasps’ the silence was deafening.
“It was a class experience to play in front of such a big crowd and when I scored the whole place just fell silent. It actually felt like it was a training goal it was just weird as the crowd were so loud the whole game. Walking out to that atmosphere was class. And then it went so quiet.”
The 21-year-old Galliagh man, who netted 15 times for Derry City before securing a three year deal with Celtic last year, is hoping the managerial upheaval at Parkhead at the end of the current season will work in his favour.
His profile has certainly been raised among Celtic supporters following his actions at the weekend, but does he feel he’s ready for the step up to the Premier Division next season?
“I signed a three year deal so I knew it wasn’t going to happen for me straight away,” he said. “It’s going to take time. This season has been good as I’ve played in a lot of games. I’ve played in nearly all the games this year and there’s only one to go before I go back to Celtic. So I’ll just see what happens in pre-season but hopefully I’m playing at Parkhead next season.
“It’s a fresh start for everyone at Celtic now which is a good thing so I’m looking forward to get back there for pre-season. But it’s good because scoring against Rangers gets my name out there now.
“The Premiership will be a step up. I think I should be playing at that level next year for Celtic and, if not, I’ll try and get a team on loan, but my main goal is trying to get my chance at Celtic.
“Hopefully the new manager comes in and sees my qualities. Maybe, I can catch his eye early and then see how it goes.”