Tony Mowbray’s problems as Celtic manager mounted at Dundee United on Sunday when a last minute goal subjected his team to a 2-1 defeat and more boos from the visiting fans.
Rangers, who beat Kilmarnock 3-0 on Saturday, remained clear of the Bhoys on another frustrating afternoon for the Celtic supporters.
Celtic hadn’t lost at Tannadice in 10 years, but midfielder Barry Robson, who scored the opening goal from a 71st minute penalty, was adamant afterwards that the result was not calamitous.
Dubliner Jon Daly then hit an 83rd minute equalizer for United before skipper Darren Dods hit the late, late winner for the home side.
Former Dundee player and current Celtic star Robson said, “Fans pay a lot of money to come and watch us but I think we have put in some decent performances, although maybe not against Falkirk in the last game.
“But Dundee United was always going to be a hard place to go to. When I was at United we almost beat Barcelona, so that’s how hard it is to go there.
“We deserved to get something from the game, maybe even the three points but it is still positive at the club. The boys are all happy and on another day, we could have won two or three nil.
“So it’s not all doom and gloom. We are ready for the next game and we can’t wait to go and win it. You don’t win anything at this stage of the season. We came unstuck but we will keep going.”
Mowbray also tried to take comfort from the performance after another disappointing result for his team.
“I felt there was a huge gulf in quality and class between the two teams and yet they scored from two set-plays,” said Mowbray. “Whether they can continue to score from set-plays, I don’t know.
“I don’t think we got what we deserved from the game but if you don’t defend your set-plays properly, then goals are what the game is about.
“But generally, for about 85 minutes, I think it was one-way traffic. We totally dominated the football match. The first half wasn’t a problem for us. I never felt they could get near our goal.”
Mowbray also claimed he was unconcerned by his team’s failure to go ahead of Rangers again.
“I judge my team on the performance level, and whilst we didn’t get the result, it shows me that for the bigger picture, we should add a little bit of quality here and there this team can go on and be successful for a very long time.”
DUBLINER Gary O’Neill won the Ford FAI Cup for Sporting Fingal with a dramatic late winner against Sligo Rovers on Sunday -- but most of his family were away in the Big Apple as he celebrated a famous win.
O’Neill’s injury time winner capped an incredible week for the First Division side, which clinched promotion to the Premier on Monday night, then won the Cup six days later.
Considering Fingal are just two years in existence, the feat is all the more noteworthy after O’Neill and penalty expert Colm James had cancelled out Eoin Doyle’s 57th minute opener for Rovers.
The American based O’Neills were in Gary’s thoughts as he reflected on one of the most significant goals of his League of Ireland career.
“I swear to God, they will have some jolly-up for the whole week, like myself,” laughed O’Neill in the Fingal dressingroom.
“Me nanny, me grandad, me ma, me dad, friends, my auntie, my uncle ... ah, there’s a good few gone over. It’s been a great few months with the birth of my son and now promotion and the cup final and we will enjoy it.
“It didn’t look when we went behind midway through the second-half but we showed great character and we got there in the end.
“It’s been a long hard season. We got promoted by going the long way about it by winning the two-legged play-off against Bray but we got there in the end as well.
“Winning the cup and getting into Europe is a bonus.”
Fingal manager Liam Buckley was delighted with the win and said, “This is just topping it all off to get a result today. On a personal level I was just chuffed to be in the final. It was great.
“But it is not about me. It is about the players and I am chuffed for them. They have worked hard over the last few weeks.”
CARDIFF City’s Irish midfielder Stephen McPhail has been diagnosed with cancer and is set to undergo three weeks of chemotherapy.
Dublin-born McPhail, now 29, has been told by doctors that he has stage one malt lymphoma but specialists believe he will be fit enough to return to football in January.
LEAGUE of Ireland title winner Pat Fenlon has been named Philips Manager of the Month for October after guiding his club to a second successive championship . . .
FORMER Irish international defender Joe Kinnear is interested in taking over as Scotland manager after his recent spell in charge of Newcastle United . . .
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