Celtic are now a staggering nine points behind Rangers at the top of the Scottish League after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Falkirk, but manager Tony Mowbray refuses to panic.
Georgios Samaras had to rescue the Bhoys after Carl Finnigan’s early opener for Falkirk, but Mowbray is adamant that his team will soon start firing on all cylinders despite Celtic’s failure to win 12 of their last 19 games.
“The team was good,” claimed Mowbray. “We didn’t win the football match, like we didn’t two weeks ago, when the team was fine again.
“If I thought there was major surgery to do, I would be more concerned. I think the players have high enough quality to turn these games into victories. Somewhere along the line we are going to score a lot of goals, I’m sure.
“We are in decent shape. You talk about us being nine points behind but let’s judge where the season finishes and I’ve got every confidence in this group of players.”
German full-back Andreas Hinkel also talked up his team’s title chances after their latest setback and said, “We still have the quality to win the league.
“It’s very disappointing at the moment but it changes so quickly. At the end of this month it can be totally different, there are so many points to play for.
“We have to do better, but sometimes it’s easier to concentrate on your job when you are behind. I think we can come back, we still have it in our own hands.”
Celtic were busy in the transfer market before the Falkirk game when they sold Gary Caldwell to Wigan, while Chris Killen, Wilo Flood and Barry Robson all moved to Gordon Strachan’s Middlesbrough.
Coach Mark Venus then admitted on Monday that a massive offer could prise Irish winger Aiden McGeady away from Parkhead before the transfer window closes, but Mowbray wants to keep his top asset.
“Aiden’s a very important player for our club in what we’re trying to build here,” said Mowbray. “There’s no interest whatsoever in listening to bids.
“Other clubs would be wasting their energy picking the phone up. I wouldn’t sit here and say one player makes the difference, but what Aiden McGeady brings is that x-factor for us really, the ability in the Scottish game -- where we do play against teams with a lot of men behind the ball -- to eliminate individuals, to go past packed defenses, to beat two and three men.
“Our financial situation is we don’t need to accept bids for players that we don’t want to sell.”
Meanwhile, St. Johnstone have signed Celtic’s Irish striker Cillian Sheridan on loan until the end of the season.