Down 3-0 to Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic after just 30 minutes they pulled one back a few minutes later and produced a much improved second-half performance but it did little to paper over recent cracks.
“Criticism comes in the wake of poor runs. But it should be directed at me by supporters. It’s my team, my preparations, my selection. The players need their support so give them that backing because they need that and deserve it.
“I did a lot of talking at half-time. We weren’t aggressive enough, just in how quickly we moved and pressed. It was a challenge to the players. And they did respond.
“People will say it’s easy to play when you’re three goals behind. But it’s not easy playing against a good team. It could have been a really, really bad night for us – or one where we produced a good second half.”
They managed to dam the flow of Celtic goals and after a poor attacking effort against Aberdeen on Saturday, when they failed to conjure up a shot on target, they at least pulled one goal back against Celtic and forced two quality saves from Joe Hart, when Joe Newell and then Jamie Murphy came close.
But there were frailties at both ends of the pitch.
“First-half really poor, second-half very good. But that first half performance cost us the game. At half-time, you have to rectify things. Then you can either fold – or you can show character.
“There have been different manners of performance. But the last game and a half at home we’ve been poor.
“We’ve not defended the box well enough. We did that consistently well last season, which means we’re not keeping clean sheets.
“There have been periods in these four games when we haven’t worked as hard as we could have.
“But the second half performance is one that will win you points and games. But the first half is one that will keep you on this run,
“The players can see it really clearly. They need that second half performance starting on Saturday.”