Defiant Brian McLean insists Dundee United’s Parkhead thrashing won’t ruin the feelgood factor under new boss Jackie McNamara.
And he is adamant the Arabs can still finish best of the rest in the SPL.
The stopper held up his hands for his part in Saturday’s 6-2 mauling by Neil Lennon’s champions which brought McNamara’s perfect start as United gaffer to a shuddering halt at the ground where he earned legendary status.
McLean himself now heads to his own former club, Motherwell, who currently sit second in the table but despite the seven-point gap and the Steelmen having a game in hand, the stopper is convinced Stuart McCall’s side are not out of reach.
Asked if they could still catch Well following the defeat to Celtic, the Northern Ireland international said: “Definitely. The league is so tight just now and there is still plenty of football to be played before the season ends.
“There are still five games after the split which are going to be crucial but it’s up to us to make sure that we secure a top-six finish and go from there. I don’t think this defeat will set us back.
“Jackie and the backroom staff who have come in have such a positive approach and a calmness in the way they go about things.
“That seeps into players. It’s about trying to relax the players and get going in the right manner and expressing ourselves to our full potential – and by Tuesday night.
“Of course we saw another side of the manager after the game. You can’t help but see the other side of the coin with him. But he’s a passionate manager. The players don’t want to get beaten under any circumstances, never mind by Celtic and 6-2.
“It’s embarrassing enough conceding one – never mind who your opposition is – but the scoreline speaks for itself and we did give away cheap goals. I hold my hands up for their first – it was my job to mark Efe Ambrose.
“But the scoreline didn’t do us justice because we had opportunities and we could have scored four or five goals. Keith Watson and myself had a couple of headers.
“It was just one of those days and we need to get back to the drawing board.
“We need to get our heads up and the good thing is that we’ve got an opportunity on Tuesday night to get back to winning ways.”
Johnny Russell scored United’s late second and McLean admitted they will struggle to hold on to the striker, with Celtic one of the clubs heavily linked with the player, as well as others such as Gary MacKay-Steven.
He said: “Johnny’s a great asset to have at the club but it’s not just him – there are four or five other guys as well. We managed to hold on to them through the January transfer window and we’ll try to do that again during the summer.
“It’s going to be difficult for the chairman but Johnny is a man who just wants to play football and express himself – and he’s doing that and enjoying himself.”
Source: Dundee United Mad