TOMAS Rogic has admitted yesterday’s draw with Hearts is imbued with the sting of defeat after Celtic conceded a late equaliser to their hosts.
Rogic’s stunning 69th-minute goal had given his side every chance of securing the win they wanted to go three points clear of second-placed Aberdeen, over whom Celtic also have a game in hand.
But they were again pegged back from a winning position when Osman Sow’s deflected shot evaded Craig Gordon in time added on.
While the damage isn’t as severe as against Motherwell nine days ago, when Celtic threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1, allowing two points to slip from their grasp in injury time is also not what is expected of champions.
Afterwards manager Ronny Deila preferred to concentrate on the evidence of “spirit” in his team. While Rogic cut a more downcast figure he also celebrated this quality. But the Australian midfielder was frustrated at the end result. “Of course as a team we are frustrated to concede so late from a deflection,” said Rogic. “It feels more like a loss than anything but we will try to take the positives from the game.
“A win is the most important thing. It was a nice goal, and good on a personal level but obviously I would rather win the match. The way we started the match was some of the best football we have played. They came back into it and Craig [Gordon] made a couple of fantastic saves. When you have a keeper like that in the side it helps. The character we showed, the team spirit, the unity in the squad, was pleasing.”
Rogic was irked by the suggestion Celtic seemed content with a draw, despite the disappointing manner of how it was achieved.
“We are not happy to take a point – I think that is pretty clear,” he said. “No-one is saying it. It is a busy schedule this time of year. We knew that coming into it. It is important we stay focused and ready for the next match.
“We knew we had a busy schedule with the games at this time of year. After a disappointing result last week we knew we had to show the hunger and desire that wasn’t there last week. It wasn’t good enough and I think from the players’ point of view we showed a reaction and were unlucky not to win the match.”
Sow, meanwhile, did not dispute his opportunistic effort might only have gone in because of the deflection off Gary Mackay-Steven, who was trying to charge the ball down. “I hit it quite well and the ball took a bit of a deflection and I was thankful for that,” the striker said. “It was important for us as it earned us a point. We could have had three points or we ended up with nothing.
“Both teams had chances so maybe one point each is a fair result. You don’t score unless you try a shot so I just did my best.”