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Manager Tony Mowbray accepts blame for St Mirren defeat

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray

Mowbray feels pressure at St Mirren

Under-fire Celtic manager Tony Mowbray accepted the blame for his side's crushing 4-0 defeat by St Mirren.

The reverse, the biggest against the Buddies in 51 years, leaves Celtic 10 points behind league leaders Rangers, having played two games more.

"Maybe it isn't a league for trying to force the game and be expansive," Mowbray said after his side's seventh SPL defeat of the season.

"I'll take responsibility for the way we asked them to play."

Mowbray's side have struggled for consistency in his debut season and the Scottish Cup realistically represents their last opportunity to secure silverware.

Relegation-threatened St Mirren, who had lost to nine-man Rangers in the Co-operative Insurance Cup final, capitalised on Celtic's defensive failings in spectacular style.

I'll take responsibility for the way we asked them to play

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray

"We tried to be attack-minded, and left some young defenders pretty exposed," said Mowbray.

"We tried to be positive and we lost four goals. It's not the first time we've lost four goals this season.

"We brush ourselves down for the next one."

Mowbray's side have now lost six league matches on the road this season and laboured to break down a well organised home team.

"We maybe need to try to play slightly differently away from home," added Mowbray.

"We had six strikers on the pitch at the death, but it left some young defenders exposed to an energetic, decent team."

MY SPORT: DEBATE

The defeat by St Mirren all but ends Celtic's faint title hopes and Mowbray suggested the success of Walter Smith's Rangers side was down to "negative" football.

"Rangers have been very consistent - they haven't lost four goals in any game," said Mowbray.

"They set up differently - maybe that's the way to go.

"Maybe it isn't a league for trying to force the game and be expansive - maybe it is a league for playing defensive, negative football and having quality up front to counter-attack."

BBC Radio 5 Live's Scotland correspondent Roddy Forsyth believes the St Mirren defeat could be Mowbray's last game in charge.

"Yes, a Scottish Cup success would avoid a barren season," he said. "But it will not be under the guidance of Tony Mowbray."

Former Celtic player Frank McGarvey told BBC Radio 5 Live that he believed Mowbray was "out of his depth".

However, Hearts manager Jim Jefferies said the under-fire boss deserves more time to make an impact.

"He does need a bit of time though to put things right and I hope that they give him that," said Jefferies.

"Maybe winning the Scottish Cup would save him. I think they should stick with Tony and I'm sure that the board know what plans he has for the future."



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see also
St Mirren 4-0 Celtic
24 Mar 10 |  Scottish Premier


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