Celtic started the match against Hibs yesterday like men possessed and raced into a 2-goal lead within ten minutes as they headed for a well deserved 3-1 win over the Edinburgh side, but the Celtic boss says that last week's defeat to Aberdeen had no bearing on the way they went about their task against the men from Easter Road. "I told the players not to worry too much about the result at Pittodrie" said Strachan. "They did enough up there to win the game of football with 20 attempts at goal and 39 crosses overall, and we managed to score two. So I just told them to keep doing what they have been doing, I can't ask them to train any harder or play any better. They tried their best again today and have done very well. That's all I can ask for in a pressurised situation."
A double from Scott McDonald and a Stephen McManus goal secured the points for Celtic but in truth Hibernian could count themselves fortunate that they escaped back to Leith with their dignity intact such was the roasting they received at times from a rampaging Celtic side. "Our wing play was teriffic" said the Celtic gaffer. "Aiden McGeady was terrific, and combined with Nakamura and Andreas Hinkel on the other side, they managed to put a lot of crosses into the box. But Aiden as an individual was outstanding. He took his performance from last week into this game, and I am happy with that."
Unfortunately for the Celts it seemed that in some set-piece situations the defence also took their performances from last week into this game. Hibernian scored when Rob Jones rose unchallenged and headed Derek Riordan's free-kick past Artur Boruc and Strachan, who also lost captain McManus due to a knee injury in the second half, admitted that the defence is still a problem. "It doesn't make me happy," said the Celtic boss. "We thought we did a fair amount of work on it and talked about it but we have to come up with answers. In saying that, sometimes there are some fantastic deliveries, Charlie Mulgrew's deliveries last week and Derek Riordan's in this game were excellent. But we have to come up with something to deal with excellent deliveries."
Scott McDonald has been an outstanding team player for Celtic in recent months but no matter how well a striker is playing he is always going to be judged on goals and the little Aussie was delighted with his brace yesterday. His strikes helped move the Celts four points clear of the Huns in the SPL table after the Forces of Darkness had drawn 0-0 against Aberdeen in an earlier televised match but Scott insisted that the Bhoys would have started in the same whirlwind manner regardless of the result from Pittodrie.
"We knew that Rangers had dropped points but the last couple of times they had dropped points, we had done the same," said McDonald "So it was important to come out of the blocks quickly, especially after the disappointment of losing last week. But it didn't matter if Rangers had won, lost or drawn, we would have wanted to go out there the same way we did. It was a great start for us and we could have had a few more. We let them back into the game again but we stuck at it and we knew if we got the next goal then that would get us the three points and we got it. I was glad to get among the goals again and hopefully there is more to come."