Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has played down the team’s form since clinching the title, saying recent results are down to his changes in line-up.
Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat to Hibs at Easter Road was the third game in a row where the Premiership champions have failed to win, following defeat to Rangers and a home draw with St Mirren.
Celtic were 2-1 up before Daizen Maeda was sent off and Hibs pushed on to draw level and then score two late goals. Postecoglou said he was happy with the performance before the red card and wouldn’t get carried away by the result.
“We love to live in the moment and everyone is sort of making assessments on what’s happening right now,” the Celtic boss said. “That’s fine.
“Most of it’s on me, to be honest. I’m the one making five or six line-up changes every week.
“That’s hurting the side, there’s no doubt about that, but I’m doing it for a reason. That’s affected our level of performance.
“Although tonight, I thought until the sending off we were in a good position and looking to finish strong.
“But that’s my responsibility and I’ll take that. The decisions I’ve made in recent weeks haven’t been to the benefit of the team.
“In terms of any far-reaching assessments or conclusions, that’s for other people to make. I know where we are.”
The late Hibs goals from Elie Youan and Paul Hanlon were down to mistakes from goalkeeper Scott bain, one of a number of players coming back into the side. Postecoglou said multiple switches made settling in difficult or everyone.
“It is disappointing for him and that is the life of a goalkeeper as he was having a good game up until that point,” he said. “It is just one of those moments and I don’t know when the last time he played was.
“These guys are out there and in many respects it is not fair on them as I am putting these guys in and that would be okay if there were one or two changes but I’m making five or six changes a game and that is hard on the guys coming in, I totally get that.
“That’s just the way I do things as I like to throw guys out there and it is a sink or swim mentality, but we provide the support and give them the feedback to be better.
“It is unfortunate for him because it was looking like a good night for him.”
Victorious Hibs boss Lee Johnston was delighted with a victory that secured fifth place in the table and sets up a chance to clinch fourth at Hearts’ expense if his side can win Saturday’s Edinburgh derby.
“A fantastic win and a really important three points, first and foremost,” he said. “Obviously Celtic are a top team and have been fantastic this year.
“We talked a lot about getting close to the Old Firm and I think everybody deserved that tonight, particularly the fans because they’ve been brilliant all year. The last home game, you want to send them home happy.
“We’ve set ourselves up now for a shoot-out with Hearts, which will be great.
“I thought we were brilliant, I really did. First half we had chances and counter-attacks. They are so difficult at times to apply pressure to because of the patterns and attacks they have on the ball, the way they roll out in midfield.
“At half-time I switched it to a diamond in midfield just to go toe to toe as much as possible and I thought the boys executed it absolutely fantastically.
“We were on the front foot and that was what I was so pleased about. We didn’t stop, didn’t lose belief, kept going and kept trying to play. This wasn’t a smash and grab, we played a proper game.”