Celts rally after hearing home truths

STEPHEN MCMANUS has revealed the Celtic players and management held a clear-the-air meeting following a fractious beginning to Tony Mowbray’s tenure as Parkhead boss.

Mowbray had bemoaned the lack of quality at his disposal in recent weeks, even though yesterday’s win over Hamilton took the club a point above Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the Premier League.

The win was Celtic’s first in five games, but McManus believes only time will tell if the meeting has made a difference.

“We had a good meeting yesterday [Saturday] and it stays between the lads and the coaching staff,” said McManus, who was criticised by Mowbray after recent games against Rapid Vienna and Rangers. “Time will tell if it has been beneficial.

“Over the course of the season you have chats as a group and that’s what happened. Communication is a big factor in any line of work but one thing we are looking to do as players, manager and coaching staff is to drive the club forward.”

McManus, who was off the pitch for the last 15 minutes of the first half to get stitches in a eye wound, added: “We won the game so it’s an improvement.

“But we are not going to kid ourselves on as a team. As individuals we need to get better.

“The manager has his ideas which we take on board. The most important thing is that everyone in the dressing room, the manager and the players, are all going in the right direction and that’s what we want.”

Mowbray was a relieved man to escape Lanarkshire with all three points after a late scare.

After a textbook volley from Shaun Maloney and a close-range drive from Scott McDonald gave the visitors a comfortable interval lead, there looked no way back for Accies.

The Parkhead side, indeed, cruised through the second half but Mickael Antoine-Curier scored seven minutes from time to set up a nervy finale for Celtic and only stand-in goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska’s fine save from James McArthur in the dying stages, when the Accies midfielder was clean through on goal, prevented the home side stealing a point.

Meanwhile, Steven Naismith admits Rangers had no option but to respond to their thrashing at the hands of Unirea Urziceni with a positive performance against Hibernian on Saturday.

The Scottish champions may have been held to a 1-1 draw at Ibrox but they produced one of their best displays of the season to prevent an impressive Hibs from leapfrogging them in the Premier League.

It was a far cry from the efforts of Walter Smith’s men in the Champions League last Tuesday when they took an early lead only to collapse to a 4-1 defeat against the little-known Romanians.

Kris Boyd fired Rangers into the lead after just eight minutes, before Anthony Stokes claimed a point from a match that both sides had chances to win.

Asked how important it was to respond to that European reverse, Naismith admitted: “It was massive. All the boys knew it was not good enough for a team like Rangers to perform the way we did midweek but we came back well.”

HAMILTON: Cerny, McClenahan (Evans 84), Canning, Elebert (Beuzelin 66), McLaughlin, Hastings, Mensing, McArthur, Wesolowski, Marco Paixao (Kirkpatrick 39), Antoine-Curier.

Subs Not Used: Murdoch, Neil, Andrews, Gow.

CELTIC: Zaluska, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Maloney (McGinn 73), Robson, Zhi, McGeady (McCourt 67), McDonald (Crosas 73), Samaras.

Not Used: Cervi, Wilson, Thompson, Caddis.

REFEREE: Iain Brines

More in this section

Sport Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox