O'Dea denies end of Celts title bid

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic captain Darren O'Dea denied the Hoops blew their title hopes last night after a 2-1 defeat at home to Hibernian left them 10 points behind Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League.

Marc-Antoine Fortune headed the home side into a fifth-minute lead, but that was cancelled out before the break by Easter Road striker Anthony Stokes.

Celtic controlled the match in the second half, failing to score on several opportunities, and then suffered a double-whammy when Hibs substitute Danny Galbraith, on for Colin Nish, fired in a dramatic breakaway winner in the final seconds.

Asked if Celtic had blown their chance of taking the title back from Ibrox, Irishman O'Dea retorted: "No, no. We are very disappointed, there's no doubting that. We need to go on to Saturday (against Hamilton) and win.


"But we have a game in hand and have Rangers still to play twice, so it's not over by any means.

"But it is a big challenge. We are 10 points behind and it's no secret that we have to win games, but it's not over."

O'Dea insists the Hoops' dressing room is still firmly behind their ex-Hibs manager, Tony Mowbray.

He said: "Oh yes, that's not even a question. The manager has got ideas and all the players are completely behind him.

"There is no doubting the effort, but effort but isn't enough at a club like Celtic, and at the moment we are just lacking a little bit."

The Celtic manager ignored one question about him feeling under pressure, before insisting the Parkhead club can still catch their Old Firm rivals.

He said: "We have still to play Rangers twice and, on the evidence of the first two games against them, they're games that we should be looking forward to.

"How many games have we got to go? There are enough games and enough points."

To end a tense post-match press conference, the Celtic manager refused to answer queries about Danny Fox's proposed move to Burnley and Stephen McManus's loan deal with Middlesbrough, which reportedly broke down earlier in the day.

Easter Road boss John Hughes hailed 19-year-old Galbraith, who scored his first competitive goal for the club since signing last summer.

He said: "He's a kid who came from Manchester United, so he is well-groomed. He's just a baby but a lovely kid to work with and he's been out for a year with injury, so he did well.

"He needs to believe in himself and it's my job to get the best out of him.

"I was screaming at him to believe in himself and be the match winner, so I'm delighted that he took it on board.

"But I felt Liam Miller was possibly the man of the match."

A delighted Galbraith said: "I'm over the moon. I don't think it could have gone much better for me -- to score the winner at Parkhead."