Title 'still in Celtic's hands' as they aim to bounce back from defeats

The Hoops suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time in a decade.

Liam Scales insists the title race is still in Celtic’s hands as they look to get over the disappointment of two consecutive Premiership defeats with a strong performance against Livingston.

The champions have seen an eight point lead at the top reduced to two in recent weeks with second placed Rangers also having a game in hand.

After suffering their first back-to-back league losses in a decade against Kilmarnock and Hearts, the support showed their discontent at Celtic Park last weekend.

But Scales is confident they will be able to put that behind them and go on a winning run that will put them back in a strong position to retain the title.

Speaking at a Celtic Foundation event on Thursday, where it was revealed the charity arm of the club raised £397,000 in the Christmas appeal, the Republic of Ireland defender said: “We are getting over it and we know we have to bounce back so that’s what we are aiming to do, we know it’s good enough for Celtic because the pressure here.

“Over the course of the season it’s not disastrous if we bounce back and do well but it’s been a tough week and just need to fix it now.

“We know that we are still in a good position and it’s in our hands to go and turn it around, as players we know we are the guys that have to go and turn it around.”

After the 2-0 defeat to Hearts, Brendan Rodgers said he wasn’t surprised at the result as he has been dismayed with the level of performances over the last few weeks.

And while Scales admits that the manager’s comments were not nice to hear, he acknowledges the point he was making and couldn’t disagree with the sentiment.

He says it’s now down to the players to put it right it in the coming weeks with games against Livingston and Dundee on the horizon before they host Rangers on December 30.

And he says if they can get the results needed and put a run of wins together then the recent defeats won’t have been a “complete disaster”.

He said: “I can see where he’s coming from, it’s not nice to hear that but obviously we can see where he’s coming from because our performances haven’t been as good as they should be so he makes a good point, but it does hurt as a player to hear that.

“Now we just need to change and make sure that’s not the case again.

“It’s in our hands still, we know if we win our games we can still go and be successful, it’s a minor blip in the course of a season and we need to turn the corner now and get over it and that’s it really. If we do that then it’s not a complete disaster.”

Celtic host Livingston on Saturday before playing Dundee away on Boxing Day then Rangers make the trip across the city in what will be their final game of 2023 on December 30.

The Hoops will then take on St Mirren in Paisley on January 2 before the league stops for a winter break.

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