Clear-the-air talks help Celtic refocus


SCOTTISH LEAGUE ROUND-UP:STEPHEN McMANUS has revealed the Celtic players and management held a clear-the-air meeting last night following a fractious beginning to Tony Mowbray’s tenure as Parkhead boss.

Mowbray had bemoaned the lack of quality at his disposal in recent weeks, even though yesterday’s 2-1 win over Hamilton at New Douglas Park took the club a point above Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the Premier League.

It was Celtic’s first win in five games, but McManus believes only time will tell if the meeting has made a difference.

“We had a good meeting yesterday and it stays between the lads and the coaching staff,” said McManus, who was criticised by Mowbray after recent games against Rapid Vienna and Rangers.

“Time will tell if it has been beneficial. Over the course of the season you have chats as a group and that’s what happened.

“Communication is a big factor in any line of work but one thing we are looking to do as players, manager and coaching staff is to drive the club forward.”

McManus, who was off the pitch for the last 15 minutes of the first half to get stitches in a eye wound, added: “We won the game so it’s an improvement. But we are not going to kid ourselves as a team. As individuals we need to get better.

“The manager has his ideas which we take on board. The most important thing is that everyone in the dressingroom, the manager and the players, are all going in the right direction and that’s what we want.”

Mowbray was a relieved man to escape Lanarkshire with all three points after a late scare.

After a textbook volley from Shaun Maloney and a close-range drive from Scott McDonald gave the visitors a 2-0 interval lead, there looked no way back for Hamilton. But Mickael Antoine-Curier scored seven minutes from time to set up a nervy finale for Celtic and only stand-in goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska’s fine save from midfielder James McArthur in the dying stages prevented the home side stealing a point.

Mowbray said the absence of regular goalkeeper Artur Boruc and midfielder Scott Brown was down to leg and ankle injuries respectively.

On Saturday, Republic of Ireland striker Anthony Stokes’ 63rd minute goal helped Hibs to earn a 1-1 draw against Rangers at Ibrox.

Kris Boyd had put the home side in front after eight minutes.