Celtic boss Neil Lennon has admitted that his side have blown their Scottish League hopes and all but handed the title back to Rangers.
Lennon’s team suffered another humiliation at Caledonian Inverness Thistle when they went down 3-2 to the Highlands side on Wednesday night.
The Terry Butcher managed club, who scored a famous Cup win over Celtic in the John Barnes era, did it again as the Bhoys used up their game in hand over Rangers.
The Celts now trail their fierce rivals by a point with just three games remaining and even Lennon can’t see the champions throwing their crown away at this stage.
“The title is in Rangers’ hands,” said Lennon after two Kris Commons’ goals and a fine display by goalkeeper Fraser Forster proved fruitless.
“They are a point ahead and we have to win all our games and take it to the last game of the season and see what happens.
“If teams are as committed against Rangers, as Inverness were against us, then there might be another twist.
“Anything can happen on a given day but I didn’t want Wednesday night to be the given day.
“We let ourselves down, not just the players but myself and coaches Johan Mjallby and Alan Thompson will have to take criticism. We might have picked the wrong team.”
The Celtic defence conceded three goals on the night and were roundly criticised by their manager afterwards.
“We are better than that,” said Lennon. “We have been very good defensively all season but the back four were really poor the second-half.
“I might have to change the back four after that performance, I will assess it on Thursday and Friday. Some players picked today of all days to have their poorest game of the season.
“The two full backs were poor today. The two centre halves were poor and the two centre forwards were eachy-peachy (both as bad as each other).
“You can’t have that many off-form and get a result and we didn’t need to win the game. Defensively we were very poor and if you play like that you don’t deserve to win any game.
“At half-time, we told them to brush up defensively but we have gone missing for the third goal. It was a great finish but we didn’t put a glove on him.”
Lennon continued: “There are no excuses. We gave them all the warnings and told them what might happen and we responded very well after the first goal.
“We had a good chat with them at half-time and they looked as if they were up for it but we didn’t start the second half well and didn’t turn up for 20 minutes.
“They should have been a lot better, a lot more resolute than that.”
Celtic’s Irish striker Daryl Murphy refused to let the result convince him the title race is over however and claimed his own experience in the game means it is ‘not impossible’ for Celtic to finish as champions.
Waterford born Murphy said: “In the last day of the season we won the league for Sunderland at Luton Town.
“We needed a favour from Preston, who needed to beat Birmingham for us to finish on the top of the league.
“They did and we won 5-0 and finished top on the last day of the season so it is not impossible, it can easily be done. I have done it so hopefully it can be done again.”