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CHRISTIE RECKONS IBROX FLOP WILL SPUR CELTS

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RYAN CHRISTIE has warned Celtic’s disappointing 1-0 defeat against Rangers at Ibrox before the tun of the year will motivate them in the second half of the season.

A strangely-subdued performance from Brendan Rodgers’ side ensured Steven Gerrard’s men shared top spot in the Premiership on 42 points although the champions have a better goal difference plus a game in hand.

A 30th-minute strike from Ryan Jack that took a nick off Scott Brown separated the Glasgow foes, but the visitors’ best performer on a day his team-mates toiled was keeper Craig Gordon with a handful of excellent saves.

Scotland international playmaker Christie, though, is eager to banish the memory of his side’s fourth league defeat of the campaign and said: “Obviously, on the day it was very frustrating.

“To be fair to the manager, he said after the game it was our first real taste of defeat against Rangers.

“So, we need to learn from it, we need to make it a learning curve and I think it’s definitely helped give everybody the determination to really kick on again after the break.

“I think by now the game has really gone out of our heads and everyone’s looking forward to the games coming thick and fast again.”

Only three points separate the top four sides in the table and Christie accepted the title race is going to be much tougher this time around as the Parkhead men embark upon their bid for eight successive crowns.

He added: “It’s not just Rangers, the whole league has been so competitive. There are definitely no easy games in the league this season.

“We know we have to be on top form and consistent from now until the end of the term if we want to win the league.

“I certainly don’t think we’ve stagnated. Like I said, I do think the quality and the rest of the teams have really stepped up this year.

“It has been a frustrating start and, hopefully, it’s something we can put right.”

Celtic return to action on Saturday, January 19 when they begin the defence of their Scottish Cup with a tie against League One outfit Airdrie at Parkhead.

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Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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