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Friday 15 December 2017

Mowbray at rock bottom

Tony Mowbray this morning found himself teetering on the brink after last night's crushing 4-0 defeat at St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League heralded a new low in his short career as Celtic manager.

Victory in Paisley would have taken the Hoops to within seven points of SPL leaders Rangers, albeit the Ibrox side would have had two games in hand. However, it all unravelled in spectacular fashion as the Buddies chalked up their first home league win over the Parkhead men in 21 years thanks to doubles by midfielders Andy Dorman and Steven Thomson.

In chasing the game, Celtic finished with six strikers on the park and in some disarray, and while the Parkhead boss refused to discuss his position, he took responsibility for losing his 13th game of the season so comprehensively to the side who started the evening second bottom of the SPL table. "It is not good enough for me, the players and the fans," Mowbray said.

"We all accept that but I take responsibility. I have given you the reasons. We tried to overcome a two-goal deficit and it backfired.

"With the balance of play in the first half, we could have been three or four up but we came in a goal down.

"Ultimately you go another goal down and the final score doesn't make good reading, of course.

"In trying to be positive we lost a few goals. I left some very young defenders exposed but it was done for the right reasons. You can look as deep into the result as you want and it's obviously not a great result but there were positive reasons why it was a negative result. You are either a brave coach or a negative coach.

"If you make those substitutions and it's 3-2 then it's the right thing to do. Make those substitutions and you lose two goals then it's the wrong thing to do. I understand that."

The result was all the more remarkable given that St Mirren went into the game with a cloud over them after losing Sunday's League Cup final to nine-man Rangers at Hampden.

However, Gus MacPherson claimed he was confident his players would bounce back.

"The belief and confidence has been there, we just hope they continue it," the St Mirren boss said.

"We had a chat with them for 10 minutes on Tuesday morning after giving them Monday off.

"There was no point in them being about the park feeling sorry for themselves. We told them there was nothing they could do about Sunday, it was history.

"But it's just one game, that's really all it is -- three points. The frustration has been that we have drawn far too many games at home, but tonight we took our chances. The goalkeeper makes crucial saves at crucial times and we get the three points."

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