Celtic's recent habit of gifting an early goal to teams visiting Parkhead continued in the Europa League grudge match against Rapid Cheating Vienna last night but the team have only themselves to blame for not taking all three points in a game they should have won comfortably. Stephen McManus, embarrassed by the hype surrounding the tie, found himself mortified when his misplaced pass led to Rapid's opener after just three minutes but fortunately Scott McDonald's stunning strike brought the sides level in the 20th minute to take the edge off his captain's blushes.
Mowbray's side dominated the match but the manager was once again left to rue the slackness in possession, so characteristic of the Hoof'n'Heid central defensive partnership, and the profligacy of all of his men in front of goal. "The big frustration is giving them the early goal, knowing the way they play on the counter-attack." said the manager. "It was a very evident individual error. Don't play silly little balls into their midfield. The individuals who have made t h e mistakes have got to concentrate better."
"The lack of goals is a huge concern for me." he added "And the fact we've conceded early goals to Dundee United, Hearts and now Rapid Vienna. The final result here is a source of frustration because I felt we did enough to win the match. We pushed hard at 1-1 but the second goal refused to come. The positive I take from the game is we restricted them to very few chances. I don't think Artur Boruc had more than one save to make apart from their goal."
Although the team now sit adrift at the bottom of the Group C table with only one point the boss is convinced that the back-to-back games against Hamburg, whom he sees as the group favourites, could possibly result in maximum points for the Hoops. The first game is at home in three weeks time and Mowbray believes his men can win against the Bundesliga leaders. "I saw enough evidence to prove we can give Hamburg a game. That's a possible six points I've given myself there. But let's wait and see what happens. We've got a chance of going through to the latter stages of the competition. Hamburg are the favourites because they're a club with huge resources. They're full of quality and I don't think they 're unpredictable because they lost three goals to Rapid and then scored four against Hapoel tonight. They're a top team with top players."