Celtic star Callum McGregor has admitted that the Hoops lacked the belief needed to beat Rangers at Parkhead.
Neil Lennon’s side produced their most insipid showing of the season when the Govan outfit pitched up at Celtic Park yesterday.
Celtic failed to create many big chances of note, and didn’t even register a shot on target throughout the 90 minutes. It was a thoroughly bemusing performance as much as it was a horrific one.
Yet McGregor has admitted that having several of our big hitters out led to a subconscious doubt in players’ minds that they could beat their rivals.
As quoted by The Scottish Sun, McGregor said: “I think at times that probably showed, yeah. We were missing quite a few key players, guys who play at the top end of the pitch who can make things happen for us and provide that bit of magic.
“Sometimes when you are missing those key players then subconsciously you do have that little doubt that shouldn’t be there. I thought we were well in the game in the first half. We had a lot of possession and created some openings.
“But we lost an early goal and that was a big thing in the game. We recovered fairly well, but the game just got away from us in the second half. We never showed enough quality from middle to front to try and break Rangers down.”
Not good enough
Listen, it was always going to be a tough game. Rangers are a much better side than some of us like to give them credit for, but that’s no excuse for the actual level of performance we watched on the day yesterday.
To say we lacked belief to actually go out and beat them makes them come across as better than they are. Almost as if we’re giving them far too much respect. They’re a good side – not a brilliant one.
We also simply can’t turn to those who were injured/suspended and say that it was a major factor. Ryan Christie and James Forrest, for example, have barely ever turned it on in derby games. The only massive loss in the final third was Odsonne Edouard.
Celtic also had Christopher Jullien, Nir Bitton, and Hatem Elhamed out. That’s fair, but our back-line was still strong enough to get the better of our foes. Stephen Welsh, for example, had a fine game when he was drafted into the starting XI.
To lack belief just because we have some players out isn’t going to cut it. This had to be better from Celtic, and instead we were let down by a group of players who need to get to grips with this fixture and pronto.
Hopefully, we go into the next one with a more healthy contingent of talent to choose from.