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Carl Starfelt says there was no relief at Celtic over Rangers draw as squad put on the blinkers

CARL STARFELT has claimed that Celtic didn’t feel a sense of relief after Rangers dropped points at the weekend, with the defender saying their only concern was their own failure to beat Hibernian.

Celtic were held to a goalless draw at Easter Road on Sunday lunchtime, giving second-placed Rangers the chance to close the gap at the top of the table to just a single point.

Despite holding a two-goal lead at half-time at home to Motherwell though, the Ibrox side conspired to throw away that advantage, and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

That left them still three points behind Ange Postecoglou’s men, but Starfelt says what Rangers are doing is none of his side’s concern.

When asked if he was relieved when he head the score from Ibrox, Starfelt said: “No, not really.

“We were obviously disappointed that we didn’t take the three points ourselves against Hibernian but I think we played a fairly good game, even though we couldn’t get that winning goal.

“But we don’t pay any attention to the other teams right now. There are still 10 games left so whether they are winning or drawing is not going to affect our approach or our style going forward.

“The clean sheet at Easter Road was a positive to take from that game. We looked very solid defensively and didn’t give them any chances in the 90 minutes.

“We know this will be a tough game because St Mirren have had very good results this year and they will be fighting hard but we are confident, with the players we have and the form we can show, that we have a very good chance of winning.”

That confidence stems from a long unbeaten run on the domestic front, with Celtic not tasting defeat since losing at Livingston in September – fully 27 games ago.

“It’s a good record,” Starfelt said. “We’ve done really well in the league, especially since Christmas and the winter break because we’ve been taking even more steps forward than before.

“We just need to keep on playing our football.”

That task has been made all the more difficult by the hectic fixture schedule and the subsequent injuries Celtic have suffered to key members of the team, but while Starfelt would love the starting XI to have a more settled feel than of late, he also thinks the squad is now positioned well to absorb the absence of those players much better than before.

“People talk about all the changes which have been made to the starting XI in recent games but I think that can be a strength,” he said.

“Now we have a lot of good players in the squad who can come in and contribute. Of course, you don’t want to have to change all the players at the same time because you need some kind of stability.

“But we’re able to bring in players who can do a job for us due to the strength of the group. We’ve lost key players like Kyogo Furuhashi and David Turnbull to injury but we’ve been able to keep our momentum going.

“I think that, at the beginning of the season or even just a couple of months ago then losing them would have been much more painful for us, but we’ve brought in more quality players since then.

“We now have a lot of hungry guys who are desperate to play their part so we’re in a really good place. Of course, we’re all competitive professionals and we want to play in every game but the team spirit at the training ground is very high.

“The main objective for everyone is to keep our momentum going and win trophies so it’s all about training well and then, when you are given an opportunity, you have to take it.

“Naturally, we want to win as much as we possibly can but we won’t be thinking too far ahead of the next game. We’re focusing on one game only and that will be our approach going forward.”

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