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Gordon Strachan: Don't Blame Me For Celtic's Scottish Cup Exit
Mar 19 2008 By David McCarthy

GORDON STRACHAN last night refused to shoulder the blame for Celtic’s shock Scottish Cup exit at the hands of Aberdeen at Parkhead.

The Hoops boss said he could have done no more with his misfiring side after seeing them blow a host of chances – then lose a goal to Darren Mackie 20 minutes from the end.

That sent the Dons into a semi-final clash with Queen of the South – and led to Celtic being booed off the pitch by their disgruntled support at the end of a quarter-final replay they had dominated.

Strachan said he couldn’t believe his side had lost – but challenged his players to use the defeat as motivation to go on and win the SPL. And he was adamant he could not have made his team play any better against the Dons, who were restricted to just two chances but took one of them.

He said: “As a manager you can set your team up to make sure your team doesn’t lose many chances – and we didn’t. The next bit is to create chances and we did that too. That’s all you can do as a coach – the rest is down to the players, if they finish them.

“They have to get on with it now. If people are feeling low on confidence we’ll change it because we can’t have any self-doubt.

“We know the league is our last opportunity and that alone should be the stimulus to make it an exciting end to the season.”

Strachan insisted his team did not deserve to finish the match as losers and added: “If the footballing Gods had been looking upon us we’d be in the next round.

“We wish them all the best but they’ve had only two chances, from a passback and a corner and we’ve been put out.

“I can’t be disappointed with our energy or chances but that’s happened two weeks in a row now. It was the same as Dundee United.

“We’re not at our sharpest in front of goal, that’s for sure, but we have to persevere and hopefully the chances will turn into goals.

“If I was angry with them I would tell them, not the world. I told them to keep playing because we restricted our opponents to a chance from a passback and a corner. You can’t ask any more than that. The only problem was that we made so many chances and didn’t finish them off.”

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