Ange Postecoglou was adamant he was happy with Celtic’s performance even though they struggled to create clear chances in a goalless draw at Hibernian.
The Hoops remain ahead of Rangers at the top of the cinch Premiership but they missed an opportunity to crank up the heat on their city rivals with what was widely deemed to be a lacklustre display at Easter Road.
However, manager Postecoglou insisted all that was missing from his team was a goal even though they toiled to open up a well-organised Hibs defence.
“It was a good performance,” he said.
“We dominated the game, we played it on our terms, but obviously we didn’t get our rewards and didn’t get the goal we needed.
“But in terms of the performance I thought the players, at a difficult venue on a difficult pitch with the opposition sitting deep for the most part, were good.
“Yeah, it’s hard when the opposition sit so deep. There are so many bodies in the box to try and find ways through.
“There were a couple of times when the ball just didn’t bounce our way in critical areas. But I thought the players efforts were excellent.”
Hibs manager Shaun Maloney fears Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet could be set for a lengthy lay-off after he went off with a knee injury in the first half following a foul by Celtic defender Carl Starfelt.
“It doesn’t look too promising for Kevin,” he said.
“It’s his left knee. It wasn’t the worst tackle ever, but when you try and stop a counter-attack like that, it’s not great.
“With these things you have to wait for the scans, so we’ll probably find out tomorrow, but it doesn’t look too great at the moment. It was a big blow to lose him.”
Maloney was proud of the way his team played.
“The performance was very good,” he said.
“We definitely earned that point with a lot of hard work. The players gave me everything. I’m really proud of them.
“The whole team defended excellently. The way Celtic play is quite unique with what they do with their full-backs.
“We had to defend that and the attacking players had to defend more than I’d like. As energy levels dropped, we got deeper but they showed amazing heart.
“Every successful team has to have a bit of grit. The best teams in our league have a side to them like that.
“We showed it against Hearts, we showed it against Ross County at times and we showed it today. We have to show that every game.”
Maloney insists he had no reservations about fielding Ryan Porteous after the centre-back was charged in relation to an alleged assault.
“After speaking to him the last couple of days, I sensed he was focused on the game,” he said.
“At that point the decision was quite clear.”