Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes admits it hurt to set a new club-record run without a goal but he thought they were denied a clear penalty in their 1-0 defeat at Celtic Park.
The Dons went a sixth game without scoring but hit the post through Florian Kamberi and had a penalty claim rejected by Alan Muir when the former Hibernian striker struck the ball off Stephen Welsh.
David Turnbull hit the only goal from long range in the 15th minute but McInnes was “extremely encouraged” by some of his team’s attacking play despite setting an unwanted record.
“Of course it (hurts) but we need to take responsibility,” he said. “(Sam) Cosgrove probably knew he was leaving at the start of the window and we were scrambling about to get players in.
“I thought (Fraser) Hornby second half showed signs of what he is capable of and Kamberi was good throughout, he hit the post, worked the keeper and looked a threat.
“I am encouraged but disappointed we now hold that record and of course it’s not something we want to have aimed at us. But it’s there and only we can do something about it now.
“You need a bit of luck at times. We should get a penalty when it comes off Welsh’s hand. Tommie Hoban got a penalty against him at St Mirren for the exact same incident. It’s come upon him from two yards away, his hand is out to the side. The exact same incident happened outside the box and Celtic got a free-kick.
“Alan apologised to me before the game for the penalty he didn’t give us when Lawrence Shankland saved it on the line earlier in the season. And he was unsighted then and having watched it back I could see why he was unsighted.
“But there is inconsistency in the interpretation of the handball rule. I felt today was the exact same incident as Tommie Hoban at St Mirren. That was Bobby Madden, tonight it was Alan Muir, and they both see it differently. I do feel that was a penalty kick on the interpretation of the law when I phoned the refereeing department.”
Celtic assistant manager John Kennedy was happy to survive some late pressure as the Hoops claimed a fifth consecutive win.
“Really good control first half but we got a bit ragged second half which meant we lost the ball in some silly situations which put us under a wee bit of pressure with Aberdeen breaking on us,” he said.
“Towards the end when it’s 1-0 they are always going to have a go so we had to defend strongly both from set-plays and open play, and we did that. It’s pleasing we have seen the game out the way we did.”
Turnbull netted his seventh goal in 16 matches since forcing his way into the team.
“He’s been great,” Kennedy said. “You see his quality. We have seen it a lot in recent games but it was good to see him get the goal in terms of finding space in behind the midfield and driving into a position where he can get his shot off.
“He’s a terrific guy who works really hard on his game, assesses everything, reviews everything and tries to implement things on the pitch, and you can see that in his performances.”