Celts in management

Lambert and Mackay stay on course for Premiership


Paul LambertPaul Lambert was the happier Celt after Norwich’s 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough.

Top scorer Grant Holt gave Norwich the lead in the 12th minute but that was cancelled out by an own goal from Russell Martin which gave Tony Mowbray’s side a point.

The draw edged Norwich above Swansea into second place in the table but Crystal Palace’s win over Preston means that ‘Boro are only one point away from a relegation place.

“Boro are a good team on a good run and they made it hard for us today,” Lambert admitted.

“We’ve played a lot of football in the last week or so. We’ve had two tough games in three days and that is hard work. We’ve got a few players who are running on empty.

“It is frustrating as a manager that you can’t get the team on the pitch you would like but we have come a long way in a short time at this club and we are in second place at the halfway mark so that can’t be bad.”

In other circumstances back-to-back draws with play-off contenders Leeds and Norwich would be looked on as decent results but with Middlesbrough batting at the wrong end of the table Mowbray looked on the draw differently.

The Boro boss said: “Some people are saying that is two good points against top of the table sides but we feel it could and should have been six points from those two games.

“The way we have played and the fact that we have come away from those games believing we should have won both shows we are more than capable of competing with the top teams in this league.

“It is indicative of where we are as a team right now. I hope people can see the steady improvement in performances since I came here. The development in the last six weeks has been encouraging.

“I see it every day in training but it is on the pitch you are judged by supporters. It is about fine margins. If we take a few more of our chances or if we can keep it tighter at the back, then we can start to look upwards in the table.

“We have to keep going, keep believing and keep playing the way we are.”

Watford made it five wins on the bounce with their 2-1 win at Scunthorpe which was in danger of being abandoned due to floodlight failure.

Delighted Malky Mackay said: “I’ve never been involved in a game quite like this where the floodlights have failed twice. The referee told us on the final occasion that if the lights went out once more then he would abandon the game.

“To win in circumstances like this requires a certain mentality from the players and I was delighted we showed that.

“I was also pleased we showed the character to come back from behind at a time when Scunthorpe were putting us under pressure.

“It’s another big win for us and with games continuing to come thick and fast at this stage of the season it is important to be in good form.”

It wasn’t such a good day for Roy Keane with Ipswich losing at home to Nottingham Forest.

An own goal from Damien Delaney settled the points with Celtic target Kelvin Wilson coming on for the last nine minutes. Darren O’Dea was an unused substitute for Ipswich.

“We lost to an own goal but we I wouldn’t say we were unlucky,” Keane admitted honestly.

“A lot went on before the goal and we had possession of the ball. We should have done better. We would have been disappointed had it been 0-0 at half-time – let alone be 1-0 down.

“The first goal was massively important. We’re nearly a good team but nearly never made it. Scoring goals is the hardest part of football and it’s been a problem for us since I’ve been here, in terms of our final ball and being clever in and around the box.

“One or two of the players make the wrong decision. We’ve taken one point from six in the last few days but I’m convinced we deserved more. Then again I’ve been saying the same thing for a year and a half.”

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