ANGE POSTECOGLOU made no attempt to disguise his emotions after Celtic’s impeccable home Premiership record came to an unexpected halt in a 1-1 stalemate with Motherwell.
The champions produced a sloppy, disjointed display against stubborn opponents who scored with a breakaway goal which was alarmingly conceded by a dozy defence.
The draw, following 12 league wins in a row, leaves the Hoops 13 points ahead with only five games to play in the after-split schedule and only an extraordinary sequence of results will prevent the flag from being unfurled in the east end of Glasgow for the second successive season.
DISAPPOINTED…Ange Postecoglou was far from satisfied with the performance against Motherwell. Image courtesy Celtic TV.
So, it’s not all doom and gloom as the team edge closer to the second target of the coveted treble with a Scottish Cup semi-final awaiting them against their Glasgow rivals at Hampden a week today.
However, Postecoglou refused to be sidetracked from what he witnessed from his players against the Fir Park outfit and admitted: “It’s fair to say it’s disappointing both in outcome and performance.
“I thought in the first-half we were okay. We controlled the game and obviously we scored.
“We knew that the game would open up at some point, so we just had to stay disciplined.
“I was really disappointed with the goal we conceded which gave them a bit of encouragement. We had some chances after that, but we weren’t good enough to put them away.”
Callum McGregor had fired the title kings into a first-half lead with a long-range drive which took a nick off a defender on its way past Liam Kelly, but that good work was undone 10 minutes after the interval when the visitors were practically gifted an equaliser.
THE EQUALISER…Kevin van Veen leaves Greg Taylor in his wake as he prepares to fire an effort past Joe Hart.
Matt O’Riley lost possession deep in the Well half and one ball forward from Calum Slattery sent top scorer Kevin Van Veen racing clear with Greg Taylor slow to react to the danger.
The Dutch striker turned the Hoops left-back inside out before dragging the ball to his right and hitting a fine sweeping effort wide of the exposed Joe Hart.
It was schoolboy defending and was punished by grateful opponents.
Postecoglou, speaking to Celtic TV, continued: “I just think it was a game where we just had to maintain control and probably we got a little bit too anxious about doing things and rushed a few things and forced a few things.
“As I said, it’s a really disappointing goal for us to concede which then gives the opposition encouragement.”
FOCUSED…Ange Postecoglou watches as Celtic fail to find a winner against Motherwell.
The fact the crown is still on an inevitable course to Celtic didn’t deflect Postecoglou’s assessment.
The Greek-Australian added: “I don’t think that masks how disappointed we are – the players are and certainly I am.
“It’s fair to say the boys have been on an unbelievable run and you know that in football these kinds of things come to an end at some point.
“So, you understand that, but there are elements within that game that we’re still disappointed with and we need to do better.
“Training won’t change. We’ve been training hard all week as we always do.
“It’s a matter of reviewing today, licking our wounds, taking our lessons and getting ready for a big game next week.”