BRENDAN RODGERS insists Celtic can only blame themselves for their topple from the Premiership pinnacle.

The champions conceded pole position for the first time since February 2 2022 after drawing with Kilmarnock at Parkhead at the weekend while their nearest challengers from Ibrox overcame St Johnstone in Perth.

The Hoops are now two points adrift with 12 games still to play, but that could be five points if Philippe Clement’s outfit beat Hearts in Glasgow tomorrow afternoon 24 hours before Rodgers takes his team to face Motherwell at Fir Park.

The Irishman, who saw a stoppage-time goal from Matt O’Riley earn a dramatic victory at the venue in September, said: “We are not top of the league because of ourselves and the points we have dropped.

“But we have to learn from that and be focused very much on our own performance and that is what the next 12 games will be.

“It’s getting back to ensuring we focus on ourselves. We can’t control anything that Rangers or any other team does.”

CELTIC VIEWS…Peter Lawwell prepares for Sunday’s visit to Fir Park to take on Motherwell.

Rodgers, speaking to the media, added: “I have said it all season we can only focus on our own performance. It is still in our hands in what it is we achieve this season. We have to focus on that.

“We’ve had eight wins and two draws and it feels like probably like eight losses and two draws.

“But there has still been a lot of good in the games, it is just when the result and at times the performance disappoints. It doesn’t give you a good feeling.”

However, there was a trace of the feelgood factor at Lennoxtown earlier today when crocked duo Cameron Carter-Vickers and Alistair Johnston returned to training.

The Hoops rearguard has lacked composure in recent games without the considerable presence of the World Cup defenders and they could return to action against Steven Kettlewell’s team in what is a must-win encounter.

Also in contention for a place in the squad is midfielder Odin Holm who is available after his recent injury.

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