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  • McIntyre: Young Celts need to learn lessons of cruel defeat

    McIntyre: Young Celts need to learn lessons of cruel defeat

    By: Mark Henderson on 13 Mar, 2018 10:45

  • TOMMY McIntyre was pleased by many elements of Celtic’s performance in Saturday’s Development League defeat away to Hibernian, but the Professional Academy Manager wants his players to learn the lessons of the 3-2 loss ahead of tonight’s match with Falkirk.

    Trailing to Oli Shaw’s first-half opener for the hosts, the young Hoops staged a superb second-half comeback to lead 2-1 thanks to goals from Jack Aitchison and Ewan Henderson.

    Another incisive breakaway left the Bhoys in a three-on-one situation but they failed to capitalise – and that proved costly.

    With around 10 minutes left on the clock, Ryan Porteous levelled for the home side and then the defender, who has featured regularly for the Hibs first-team recently, headed in the winning goal in the dying seconds, a cruel blow to the Bhoys.

    Speaking exclusively to the official website, McIntyre said: “We played really well in the game, and we managed the conditions well. The difference was the physicality as they were older than us and also the set-plays, which we never really handled well.

    “They scored from three set-pieces, which is very uncharacteristic of us but maybe it's the wee wake-up call we need. There were a lot of pleasing aspects. They showed great resilience in the second half but even in the first half there was some good play.

    “We scored two really good goals and we had a chance to go 3-1 up but the disappointment was not being able to handle the physicality at set-plays. I can’t fault the players for some of their play, which was outstanding at times.

    "We just don’t seem to be getting some of the breaks and hopefully that will come but I can’t fault them for their energy, how they controlled the game or how they passed the ball, and there are just one or two lessons to be learned.”

    Aitchison netted from close range a few minutes after the restart after good work down the right from Anthony Ralston, before Henderson finished with aplomb just beyond the hour-mark following a Celtic counter-attack.

    McIntyre said: “They showed great resilience in the first half but even in the first half there was some good play. We changed the system a little bit in the second half and we had the momentum and scored a much-deserved equaliser.

    "There was some great play down the side by Anthony Ralston to get to the byline and put it across the goal and Jack Aitchison was in the six-yard box and tapped it in.

    “We scored the second from their corner. We broke on them and there was some great play down the side from Broque Watson and Ewan Henderson, who cut in and it was a lovely finish.

    “At 2-1, we countered again and we had a three-on-one situation and the defender made a fantastic challenge. We sat off them a little bit in the last 15 minutes and we never really handled balls coming into the box. They were big players but it was a good test for us and something we’d never came up against this season - how we deal with that gives something to look at going forward.”

    The young Celts will look to return to winning ways when they host Falkirk at Lennoxtown tonight (KO: 7pm), before they entertain Kilmarnock at Cappielow on Friday as the Bhoys’ hectic schedule continues.

    But McIntyre believes the fixture backlog will also present a chance for younger members of the squad to come in and prove their worth.  

    He said: “We’ve got quite a number of games and it gives opportunities for players to come in and stake a claim. We are working with a small group as we have so many out on loan who would be eligible. But that gives the next batch underneath, coming up from U17s, a chance that previously wouldn’t have been given quite as early."

    The coach continued: “It’s a big learning curve for them and we don’t have too much time to dwell on it. We need to reflect on the match and look to improve for the next game which comes pretty quickly with Falkirk and then Kilmarnock on Friday.

    "It was good to get back on the pitch on Monday and look forward to the game today and hopefully we can improve. We still have a chance in the league. It’s going to take a big effort but the most important thing is about developing performance, learning from the previous games and taking it forward.”

    Celtic v Hibernian (4-2-3-1) Mullen; Ralston, Duffy, Deas, Church; Bell, McInroy; Watson, Henderson, Caffrey (Savoury 80), Aitchison (Diver 85). 

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