Hartley expects tight race
Paul Hartley is predicting a number of 'twists and turns' in the race for top spot in the SPL.
Last Updated: 14/12/08 10:54pm
Paul Hartley is predicting a number of 'twists and turns' in the race for top spot in the Scottish Premier League.
Celtic are currently four points clear of Rangers but, unusually, the Glasgow giants failed to win their respective league games on Saturday.
Gordon Strachan's men had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw against Hearts, with a late Stephen McManus header cancelling out Andrew Driver's opener.
Celtic had also lost to Hibernian in their previous game and Hartley accepts it will be a difficult campaign.
He said: "It's going to be a long season, with twists and turns. To be honest with you, the Rangers result didn't have that much effect on us but the good thing was that we didn't get beat.
"It just shows you the mentality of the squad and the spirit within it.
"I thought we dominated the second half but we could have done a lot better in the first half.
"They came with a game plan and we found it hard to break them down.
"But we pinned them back in the second half and got the goal."
Shaun Maloney limped off with a hamstring injury and is set to be sidelined until the New Year but Hartley has backed the Celtic squad to cope in his absence.
"Shaun has been scoring recently and playing well so it's a blow," the midfielder commented.
"We've had major injuries this season and this is another one.
"It's hard to tell with a hamstring but you only have to look at Marc Crosas, who was out for eight weeks, to know it's bad."