Dougie Imrie was taking Friday’s defeat to Celtic on the chin, and does not want Accies to be measured on performances against the champions. Web reporter Mark Gillespie caught up with him after the match.
“Celtic will take four or five off anyone on their day. We’ll judge ourselves against the teams who are going to be around about us this season,” he said.
“So far we’ve picked up seven points from five games and lost to the top two teams from last season. For us, it’s been a good start and we’re bitterly disappointed after tonight. But we can’t let our heads go down. Celtic are by far miles ahead of everyone.”
“Tonight we were really disappointed with the first half performance. The game was done by then. In the second half I thought we competed well and got one back, but obviously Celtic were 3-0 up and it was pretty easy for them in the end. “
Whilst being open about our shortcomings on the night, Imrie was also full of praise for the champions, and sees the possibility of another undefeated domestic campaign for them.
“They’re just relentless. As soon as you make a mistake they punish you. We gave them too much respect in the first half, and too much space. Inevitably we got punished and we were 3-0 down by half time and the game was done.
“I wouldn’t say they cut us open for all four goals. For they first goal we’ve allowed Armstrong to cut in on his right foot and he’s put it in the bottom corner. The second goal was a ball through the middle, we didn’t defend it and Sinclair scores. The third goal was exactly the same- we make a mistake up the park, the striker doesn’t take the ball in, and within three passes they’ve scored. “
“ For the fourth goal I hold my hands up, I made a bad pass and they punished us again. That’s the difference- they just look for mistakes and they punish you. We could maybe have got away with it against so called lesser teams, but against the top quality sides you can’t do that.”
“If they play like tonight, it’ll be very difficult for someone in Scotland to beat them, although I watched the St Johnstone game when they had an off day and Steven McLean could have put them 2-0 up.”
Neither did Imrie think our chances were improved by the absence of Celtic’s two first choice strikers on the night.
“Listen, Celtic have got quality throughout their team. It doesn’t matter who drops out, they’re all international players, which is why they’re at Celtic. We saw that a couple of weeks ago against Kilmarnock, when they had four of five youngsters playing and beat Kilmarnock 5-0. They’ve also got the momentum, having gone all last season undefeated, and starting like a train again this season.”
“Tonight was tough but we’ve had an overall fantastic start to the season. We won’t let this result dampen our spirits.”