Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew hopes their recent habit of emerging from tricky situations can kick-start a winning run while answering questions about the team’s mentality.
Mulgrew kept Celtic ten points behind Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders Rangers for the second successive week when he netted a 72nd-minute winner against Aberdeen on Sunday.
The stand-in captain also scrambled a late equaliser at Rugby Park the previous weekend to complete Celtic’s comeback from a three-goal deficit. In between, Celtic secured a much-needed Europa League point away to Rennes.
Mulgrew said: “It gives you more belief to come back when the chips are down a wee bit. Maybe that’s a question that has been asked of us a wee bit this year. The main thing is winning here and we will all be concentrating on that no matter how it comes.”
Celtic’s mental strength was questioned in some quarters after their second-half collapse at Ibrox in September, when a 2-1 interval lead was blown away by three Rangers goals. The defeat came amid a 13-game run where Celtic won just four times, but Mulgrew hopes their recent comebacks have gone some way to answering criticism about their character. “Hopefully we have but we don’t concentrate on the critics,” the 25-year-old said. “It would be great to get performances but if we can go on a wee run now, that would be great. It was massive, as every game will be from now to the end of the season. There is always pressure to win every game and sometimes it’s not always going to be pretty.”
Mulgrew, whose team face Hibernian in the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-finals at Easter Road tomorrow, continued at centre-back against the Dons, where he has been a mainstay in recent weeks after being used in midfield and at left-back.
But the former Wolves and Aberdeen player is not concerned with securing the specific position in the long term. “I don’t want to say that’s where I’m going to play because I could be somewhere else in another game,” he said. ”Wherever the manager plays me I’ll give 100 per cent and do my best in that position.”
Mulgrew has been tipped for a Scotland call-up from his former Dundee United manager for the friendly against Cyprus on 11 November. But he said: “That’s up to Craig Levein, I’m just going to keep playing and concentrate on Celtic at the moment.”
Mulgrew was speaking as Celtic announced a £10,000 donation to Poppy Scotland, through the club’s charity fund. The gesture follows controversy last year when some supporters held up a banner at Parkhead declaring “no bloodstained poppy on our hoops” in protest at the symbol’s incorporation in Remembrance Day jerseys worn by all SPL sides.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: “As we approach Remembrance Sunday, we remember the victims on all sides of all conflicts. Many people from all walks of life have entered the services, and indeed, we all remember the contribution which so many Celtic players made during both world wars.
“We are pleased to make this donation which will hopefully assist many people in Scotland dealing with devastating injuries.”