CELTIC have switched their focus to the Scottish Cup as they face going through a season without a trophy success for the first time in 11 years.
The quest for the tenth successive title was inexplicably lost months ago as the team came off the rails and it was made official at Tannadice yesterday with a lame goalless draw against Dundee United at Tannadice.
A win would have delayed celebrations across Glasgow where Steven Gerrard led his Rangers side to their first championship in a decade.
However, with the Parkhead shedding an extraordinary TWENTY-EIGHT points in their failed bid for history they have been well off the pace with their city rivals attempting to go through the campaign unbeaten.
Midfielder Ryan Christie, whose erratic form – along with that of his team-mates – hasn’t helped the Hoops cause, is now looking to the national trophy Celtic have won for the past four seasons in their phenomenal quadruple treble triumph.
BY THE LEFT…Ryan Christie fires in a shot at the Dundee United goal.
The Scotland internationl said: “It’s our trophy to defend and all the boys are desperate to do that.
“The boys were buzzing when they saw the news that it’s going to be played out this season. It’s a great opportunity for us to end the season on a high.”
Christie has been involved in transfer speculation in a topsy-turvy campaign and he will kick off next season going into the final year of his contract. So far he has resisted agreeing an extension with the club.
Christie said: “Personally, I’m not trying to be selfish. I’m just trying to go into every game and give my all. I’m trying to end the season as well as I can.
“I’ll just try to keep my own performances as high as they can be. That’s my target between now and the end of the season.”
Christie was among those unable to penetrate the United defence on Tayside and said: “It was a frustrating day. You come away wondering how you’ve not got on the scoresheet.
“It wasn’t down to a bad performance.”
There was a procession towards Benjamin Siegrist’s goal for an hour without the sign of a breakthrough goal as the champions fired blanks. The heads dropped along with the tempo as the encounter wore on.
After the 1-0 loss to Ross County in Dingwall that saw Neil Lennon depart two days later, the Hoops overcame Aberdeen with the help of a deflected goal from Tommie Hoban with Joe Lewis looking well placed to save Odsonne Edouard’s original effort from the edge of the box.
IN THE NET…Mohamed Elyounoussi holds his head in agony after another miss as keeper Ben Siegrist breathes a sigh of relief.
One goal in three league games is never going to win a championship. They huffed and puffed on Tayside, but failed to find that crucial cutting edge, despite having a remarkable 27 attempts on goal.
Twenty-five-year-old Christie, speaking to the Daily Record, added: “Every player, not just me, at the club is hurting and wants to put things right.
“Everybody has that champion’s mentality. That’s how we got to the position we have over the last four or five years.
“Everyone is desperate to have that feeling back again, so everyone has that hunger again. We want to put things right.
“John Kennedy touched on that and is trying to get that mindset back. That’s what champions do.
“It’s obviously not how we wanted the season to go. We started the season looking to defend our title and we’re all gutted.
“But we can only look forward now. It’s just a blip and we want to come back even stronger and go again.
“When you face a blip, you face a blip. You bounce back from it and try to get back on top again. That’s the mentality we need. Everyone is ready to bounce back.”