John Kennedy believes Celtic created enough opportunities to beat Rangers in their Scottish Cup clash – but believes lack of confidence played a part in their 2-0 defeat.
Rangers scored through Steven Davis and a Jonjoe Kenny own goal to take a p[lace in the quarter finals and ensure that Celtic end the season trophyless for the first time since 2010. But Celtic had plentiful chances to score and Odsonne Edouard saw his second half penalty saved by Allan McGregor.
Kennedy said that the result came down to which side converted their chances, and believes that Celtic’s inability to make theirs count may be down to confidence after a dismal season that has seen them lose their grip on all three domestic trophies as well as struggling in Europe.
“We had a lot of shots, probably five good opportunities you want to take,” the interim boss said.
“The difference in the game is Rangers had a couple of half chances, one breaks to them and the other one is a flash across goal and they take them.
“You’ve seen the penalty today, even Stephen Welsh first half, Moi (Mohamed Elyounoussi) has had a chance, Odsonne had a chance, for a game like this that is more than enough to go and take care of the game and then obviously Rangers score two and that puts you on the back foot.
“We have not been in that form consistently enough to have that full belief. We had it last week in abundance but you have to build that up again.
“We have been there before in terms of being relentless in front of goal and putting teams to bed, we have gone through a difficult patch this season when that has not been the case, for me a large part of it is confidence.
“So it is something we just have to work at, build the confidence up and look at things going forward.”
The coach, who will continue to take charge of the first team until a permanent successor to Neil Lennon is appointed, insists that professional pride will ensure that Celtic’s season doesn’t fizzle out now that their trophy hopes have ended. Kennedy said that there will be change at the club this summer,with players leaving the club and needing replaced, but that everyone would feel that they were playing for their futures in the remaining matches.
Reflecting on the Ibrox defeat, he admitted that missed opportunity was a recurring theme for the team throughout the season.
“A little bit,” he said. “There’s been numerous occasions this season when that’s been the case. It’s disappointing that it’s resurfaced today.
“We’ve been so successful for a long period of time. When you hit a setback and things aren’t quite falling for you, it all seems to come at the one time, and that’s been the case this year.
“We just have to take what we can out of the season, and obviously it’s not been a very successful one, but again that can make you stronger, dealing with that hurt and with the setbacks and just making sure we address that properly and look forward.”