Chris Smith praised by Dunfermline boss despite defeat by Celtic

Smith was beaten twice at Celtic Park but produced a string of saves
Smith was beaten twice at Celtic Park but produced a string of saves

Jim McIntyre praised much-maligned Dunfermline goalkeeper Chris Smith for keeping Celtic at bay for most of the game despite eventually losing 2-0.

"He showed great character," said the Pars boss after his side remained bottom of the Scottish Premier League on goal-difference behind Hibernian.

"He has made a couple of mistakes this season and he has been vilified in the press, but what you have to say is that he responded in the right manner.

"I thought he had an outstanding game."

Celtic took the lead thanks to a long-distance strike from Charlie Mulgrew after 32 minutes and a James Forrest tap-in 15 minutes from the end.

Dunfermline rarely threatened, but McIntyre was making no excuses for his side's defensive tactics against the runaway league leaders and said there was a belief within the side that they could avoid relegation.

"I think we've got that," he told BBC Scotland. "I've certainly got belief in my players.

"We were up against a very good side who have been scoring a barrowload of goals, so there was no way I was going to leave us open, because the same would have probably happened to us.

"You are always disappinted to lose any game, but I'm a realist as well.

"Celtic deserved to win the game on chances created. I was really proud of my players and the way they performed with the injuries we have out and we had a couple playing out of position and I thought they stuck to their task manfully."

McIntyre said it was 50-50 whether any of his injured players would be back to face St Johnstone at the weekend, other than striker Andy Kirk, who failed a late fitness test for the trip to Celtic Park.

"He has a wee problem as well, but hopefully he will be okay for the weekend," said the manager.

"We go to St Johnstone and I don't know who Hibs are playing, but we've just got to look after our own results and keep trying to climb the table."

McIntyre thought that, with a bit of luck, they could have taken something from the match in Glasgow.

"I thought the players showed great discipline in what we asked them to do," he said.

"I would just have liked them to do it a wee bit further up the pitch.

"But you have to credit Celtic for that as well as they were hemming us back and it's a great strike to take the lead, which obviously relieves a wee bit of pressure because we were frustrating them.

"I think, when you set up in a defensive fashion as we did, you're relying on putting the ball away when you have a chance and I think we could have worked their goalkeeper a bit better."

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