Neil Lennon rounded on his Celtic players after their 17 game unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt at Motherwell – just a week after the mother of all wins against Rangers.
With the memory of their 3-0 Parkhead win still fresh in their minds, Celtic were expected to have an easy Sunday at Fir Park. Instead they lost to two unanswered goals from John Sutton, younger brother of Bhoys idol Chris.
Now Lennon has to pick his players off the floor for Wednesday night’s Scottish Cup replay against Rangers after accusing them of buying into their own hype against Motherwell.
“They have had a lot of nice things said about them this week and maybe they were believing in their own publicity,” said Lennon of the 2-0 defeat.
“By our performance, maybe we underestimated them. I didn’t sense that in the week but there was a lack of competitiveness about us and quality, we did the opposite to what we have been doing the last couple of months and to be fair to them they have been excellent so I won’t be over critical.
“But it was poor. We were poor defensively, poor in midfield and poor going forward. There was nothing positive to take from the game.
“There was no collectiveness about us, we were disjointed and the goals we lost were appalling. You can’t give any team cheap goals and expect to win games.
“You can make up excuses for the pitch but it was the same for both sides. We didn’t adapt to the conditions and we were second best.
“It’s not a criticism I can level at the players very often but Motherwell were hungrier. We got what we deserved - nothing.
“Any time we have had a poor performances we have bounced back pretty well and I am looking for a reaction now in the next nine, 10 games.”
Midfielder Kris Commons, a goalscorer against Rangers the previous Sunday, could only agree with his boss.
Commons added: “I think we were a little bit complacent. We didn’t start the game well and gave away a sloppy goal.
“A misunderstanding between a centre-half and the goalkeeper cost us and instead of bouncing back we gave away another sloppy goal.
“It was just sloppy, not like us and it put us on the back foot. The spark wasn’t there. Usually you maybe have two or three players who are not quite at the races but to have 14 who weren’t at 100% was the disappointing thing.
“It is a wake-up call, you can’t just turn up and play, you have to work hard. They wanted it more than us.”