Mowbray warns Hoops over futures
Tony Mowbray warned the Celtic players they have until January to save their Parkhead careers after their Europa League hopes suffered an almost fatal blow with their 1-0 defeat by Hamburg. The Hoops matched the visitors in the first half, but failed to convert several decent chances and, in the 63rd minute, Swedish striker Marcus Berg claimed the points when he took a Ze Roberto pass before drilling his shot from distance past Artur Boruc.
Celtic remain bottom of the section with one point from three games ahead of the return game in Germany at the beginning of next month. With no wins in his last four games, and only two wins in eight home games since taking over from Gordon Strachan in the summer, Mowbray again left the pitch to the sound of boos from the home fans. However, the former West Bromwich Albion manager believes the obvious lack of quality is costing him and he aims to do something about it when the transfer window opens again.
"It is down to the players to prove that they are good enough to stay at this club and play for these supporters, come January," said Mowbray. "We give them ten out of ten for effort, but I have never questioned their effort.
"I can question their quality, as I did last Saturday against Motherwell and as I do again tonight. I saw our quality and I saw their quality.
"Manchester United wins games because Rooney smashes it in and Berbatov creates space, Liverpool are finding it hard without Torres and Gerrard," he said. "The best players win you football matches, quality is what counts.
"Celtic fans should be happy with endeavour, effort and desire, but they will see the mis-controlled passes, as I see them. We will try and put it together bit by bit. We will try to find the right players of the right quality to lift the team and we are working hard behind the scenes to find those players.
"The players are honest, hard-working players and they are very harsh on themselves," said Mowbray. "Players will get opportunities to remain at the club, but the quality needs to improve and I have to work hard to do that. Nobody in this city seems interested in performance levels, it's all about results and we have to live with that and the result went against us.
"We probably need to win our last three games, so let's give it a go."
Hamburg coach Bruno Labbadia revealed his disappointment that the Bundesliga club are set to be reported to UEFA after their players sat down on the corner of the pitch after being refused permission to celebrate with 2,500 visiting fans.
He said: "I wished the situation had been different. We had 2,500 supporters with us and we were told that we could not go over and celebrate with them.
"I wish to say thank you to the fans - we couldn't do that as we wanted. But I am delighted with the team and I told the players how proud I was of them. We put the opposition under a bit of pressure and we might have got the second goal."