Mowbray demands Celtic unity

Under-fire manager tells struggling side to improve by 'sticking together'
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The Independent Football

Tony Mowbray has urged everyone at Celtic to "stick together" as the club aim to get their spluttering season back on track.

Mowbray has come under pressure after overseeing just two wins in 10 games, a run which has seen the Hoops surrender top spot in the Scottish Premier League and move to the brink of crashing out of the Europa League.

Celtic now face three successive home matches, against St Mirren on Saturday, Hapoel Tel-Aviv on Wednesday, and Aberdeen the following weekend. Mowbray believes the next week and a half could be a key spell in his side's season, starting with the visit of the Buddies.

He said: "The very nature of football is that players and managers are going to suffer setbacks frustrations and defeats. You have got to put it behind you and get back on the training ground. There is always another big game around the corner, and that's the case with us.

"We have three home games coming up in the space of eight days, against St Mirren, Hapoel, and Aberdeen. And we have to try to win them all. That's always the target at Celtic, winning matches. We have not done that consistently enough this season, but we will keep working together to find that level of consistency.

"I am sure we will read a lot this week about the opposition trying to feed off any anxiety over our results. The message has to be that we have to all stick together. Hopefully, we can get a result against St Mirren and then build on that."

Celtic let slip a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 at Dundee United on Sunday, the latest in a series of dropped points from a winning position since Mowbray took charge in the summer. Midfielder Marc Crosas said: "That type of game has happened a lot this season. We've played well in a lot of matches, but haven't killed teams off.

"We seem to do the most difficult thing by scoring the first goal, but maybe we have to push on a bit more and score the second goal or kill the game by keeping the ball better. Against Dundee United, we lost and I think most people who watched will say we deserved better. Maybe we need more luck – I don't know."

Mowbray is hopeful of welcoming back midfield duo Zheng Zhi and Paddy McCourt against St Mirren. Both missed Sunday's trip to Tannadice, Zheng through illness, and McCourt with a minor knock.Celtic will once again be missing Scott Brown, amid reports he has been to visit a specialist in Amsterdam over his troublesome ankle injury.Shaun Maloney is also out, while goalkeeper Artur Boruc will not be risked.

Mowbray said: "It will probably be a bit too soon for Scott, Artur and Shaun. Of the three, Artur is not too far away but we'll see how he is. Zheng missed out against Dundee United because of illness but he should be okay for Saturday."

Aiden McGeady has admitted he would not pay to watch Celtic at the moment. He said: "The fans want to watch good football and, the way we've been playing, that's just not happening. They're entitled to do what they want and, if I was in the same boat, I think I'd be doing the same. We've been playing really poorly and just grinding out the odd result but we're really struggling. There have been a couple of matches where we've played okay but we've struggled in the last three or four."