Mowbray defends players

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Tony Mowbray dismissed any notion of the Celtic players letting him and the fans down after the Hoops surrendered their lead at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League to Old Firm rivals Rangers by failing to break down Motherwell in a 0-0 draw.

Rangers' win at St Johnstone earlier in the day had taken the Ibrox side two points clear, but Mowbray's side failed to respond as they missed a series of chances in a frustrating afternoon at Celtic Park.

"Let's put it into perspective. It is the first time we haven't scored in the league this season and we had lots and lots of chances," said Mowbray.

"I defy anybody to say there was a lack of determination, desire or effort in the way we went about our job.

"I must congratulate Motherwell on the way they played. But I was looking at statistics, we had 24 shots on goal and 15 on target, so not scoring is the frustration.

"If we had scored two of our 15 efforts on goal we would have said `job done, let's move on to next week.'

"Most weeks, with those stats, you would be sure that you would score one or two goals."

Hoops' wide-man Niall McGinn played down the impact of losing the lead at the top of the table to their Ibrox rivals.

"It is disappointing but it's early enough in the season. It won't come down to Old Firm games, us and Rangers will drop points against other teams," said McGinn.

"We are playing well enough at the moment and if we had scored in the first half it could have been two or three nil."

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