GRIM-FACED Ange Postecoglou admitted there “could be a thousand reasons” for Celtic’s abject performance in the 2-0 loss to St Mirren in Paisley this afternoon.
The Hoops went into the encounter on the back of a 38-game unbeaten sequence in the Premiership with their last reverse coming in a 1-0 loss at Livingston exactly a year ago tomorrow.
The champions had scored 25 goals in their previous six league outings in a 100 per success rate until they fired blanks in an appalling. low-tempo display against Stephen Robinson’s side.
Home keeper Trevor Carson was rarely troubled while Joe Hart had to pick the ball out of the net twice following headers in each half from Mark O’Hara and Jonah Ayunga.
HEY, REF…Joe Hart appeals to match official Don Robertson after scorer Jonah Ayunga’s push on Stephen Welsh. The goal stood even if the Celtic centre-back was flattened.
The second goal came after a blatant push in Stephen Welsh’s back by the Saints striker before he nodded in from close range, but referee Don Robertson, with a clear view of the incident, saw nothing untoward and, despite protests, allowed the goal to stand.
TV replays clearly showed a two-handed shove by Ayunga to clear the way for an unopposed header.
However, Postecoglou made no excuses at the end as he said: “Obviously, it is a disappointing day for us. Credit to St Mirren, they worked hard and got their just rewards.
“We were poor in every aspect of the game today and that is disappointing.
“There could be a thousand reasons for that, but, ultimately, we did not perform to the levels we usually do. The cold, hard reflection will come. We have had a decent run of results over the last year.
CRUNCH…team-mates Anthony Ralston and Stephen Welsh collide going for the same ball.
“Part of football is to see how you overcome setbacks and today was one.
“In every area, we were just not up to the levels we are usually at. We did not show the right tempo or intensity to work through teams, and sometimes, in the course of what we have achieved over the last 15 months, there will always be a reminder that comes along to tell you not to get too far ahead of yourself.”
Asked if the six changes in the team from the side that drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw in midweek may have caused a reaction, the Hoops gaffer, speaking to Sky Sports, answered: “Team selection is on me. If I got that wrong, then it is my responsibility.
“I do not think anyone was a stand-out performer today. As a collective, we were just not at the levels we want to be at.
GETTING SHIRTY…Filipe Jota is held back by St Mirren defender Ryan Strain.
“I feel more for our supporters who have to sit on it for a couple of weeks. For us, you know, we have to get back up and get going again.
“Football will always remind you if you are getting too far ahead of yourself. We still have a lot of improving to do, individually and as a collective.
“Today was a reminder of that.”
Celtic now have a two-week break during the international window and return to action against Motherwell at Parkhead on October 1.