RYAN CHRISTIE insists there is no need for Celtic to panic, despite dropping 11 points off the pace in the pursuit of their historic tenth successive title.
The Hoops blundered through a 2-2 draw with Hibs at Easter Road at the weekend where the Edinburgh outfit were gifted a two-goal advantage through some appalling and unacceptable defending from Neil Lennon’s side.
They left themselves with a mountain to climb and managed to salvage a draw following a stoppage-time leveller from Diego Laxalt after substitute Odsonne Edouard has blasted in a 79th-minute penalty-kick.
Knee-jerk reactions seem to be the order of the day as critics and fans react to the club dropping their ninth point of the campaign, but the Scotland international playmaker realises Scotland’s title kings, with two games in hand and potentially three against Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side to be played between now and May, is not about to throw in the towel.
Christie, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “At a club like Celtic, everyone knows we are trying to win every game and if you do that it takes the pressure off yourself and puts it on other people.
“We know there’s still plenty of time to go in this league and that we’ve got it within ourselves to go on a run.
“Even on Saturday, at 2-0 down, you are thinking ‘how has this happened?’ .You’re thinking ‘we’re playing very well’. All we need is that run of games to get the confidence back up and maybe a few clean sheets at the other end.
“We know we’re still a very good team and can put together a few good runs that will take the pressure off of us. But we need to do that sooner rather than later.”
The visitors were heading for their second disastrous league loss of the term until Edouard, who replaced the ineffective Albian Ajeti, rifled in the spot-kick following a Paul McGinn handball.
That set up a frantic grand finale and Uruguayan left-back Laxalt walloped in the leveller after the Hibs defence failed to clear a left-wing free-kick from Leigh Griffiths who also started from the bench.
Christie added: “We are always going to keep fighting. We’ve got that about us in the changing room. I think more than anything, at 2-0 down, it was just the complete shock of it.
“But we knew we needed to get something out of the game because we deserved it. We deserved at least a point.
“The goal from us was inevitable, because we kept fighting. If the game had had an extra five minutes, I think we would have gone on and won it. But we shot ourselves in the foot – it was frustrating to find ourselves 2-0 down and having to claw our way back into it.
“We went in at half-time feeling very positive. On a different day, it could have been 2-0 or 3-0 at half-time. But when we are playing that well and creating chances, we just need to make sure we are switched on at the other side so that teams can’t punish our mistakes.
“If we are not scoring, then we are definitely not conceding at the other end. We have to keep the door at the other end shut. It is something we need to work on – stop the errors at the other end.”