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More away day misery for Gordon Strachan and Celts round-up

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Thinking time

Gordon Strachan suffered another night of misery on the road as Middlesbrough lost 3-1 away to Derby County.

Kris Boyd’s second goal for the club will have provided little in the way of consolation for the Celtic boss whose side have lost four and drawn once in five away games this season.

The pre-season tag of favourites has long since been forgotten with the Teesiders sitting sixth from bottom of The Championship just two points clear of the relegation places.

A recurring theme of Middlesbrough’s season has been losing goals in short bursts. Derby scored three times within 15 minutes following on from Watford going 3-0 up after 20 minutes on Saturday.

Strachan’s after match comments were typically puzzling, he said:  “I look at the players and I think ‘can they try harder?’, but I think physically they are trying.

“Sometimes they actually try too hard and when they’re doing that they play themselves out of position and leave some gaps and that’s just the frustration at the moment.

“You’ve got to keep a hold of your frustrations sometimes, or you’ll lose your shape and some players were trying to close down too quickly and got picked off. The goal just before half-time, if we’d have sat back with not some much space in between defence and midfield we’d have been okay.

‘Boro have won their last two home matches but with Saturday’s visitors Portsmouth arriving on the back of two wins there’s bound to be plenty of tension around the Riverside Stadium on Saturday.

The only former Celt to watch his side win tonight was Paul Lambert with Norwich’s 4-3 win over Leicester lifting the Canaries into third place in the table a point ahead of Malky Mackay’s Watford who lost 3-2 at home to Swansea.

Darren O’Dea returned to Reading as an Ipswich player but was unable to prevent Roy Keane’s side from losing 1-0.

Down in Division One Swindon’s miserable start to the season continued with Plymouth winning 3-2 at the County Ground.

Paul Caddis, Scott Cuthbert and Jon-Paul McGovern were all in the starting XI with Simon Ferry on the bench. Anyone doubting the competitiveness at this level would be well advised to note the crowd of 9,346 which would delight most SPL clubs especially with competition from the Champions League on television.

In the same division Josh Thompson helped Rochdale to a 3-0 win over Huddersfield who included Graham Carey in their side.

The win lifts Rochdale into fourth place in the table following on from last season’s promotion.

Down in the basement Chris Sutton and Ben Hutchinson had to settle for a 0-0 draw at home to Burton Albion which leaves Lincoln sitting five places from the bottom of League Two.

Elsewhere in the world of Celtic Aiden McGeady helped Spartak Moscow to a 3-0 win over Zilina which sets them up nicely for the double header with Chelsea who also have full points after beating Marseilles 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Over in Sweden LBoIS run of four straight wins came to a halt with a 3-2 defeat at home from Assyriska, the defeat leaves LboIS sitting in fourth place as they battle for promotion or a play-off spot into the Allsvenskan (top division).

Decision time for Hugh Dallas?

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