Motherwell fans would’ve been delighted to see John Ruddy make a shock return yesterday – but the big keeper admits it’s wasn’t exactly a dream comeback at Celtic Park.
The on-loan Everton stopper has been in stunning form this season with 15 clean sheets, but shipped four on his return from injury at Parkhead as Celtic punished a lacklustre performance from The Steelmen.
A visibly deflated Ruddy said: “It’s always a disappointment to concede goals, regardless of how many. But to capitulate like that in the second half was really disappointing for everyone involved.
“I thought we were good in the first half, so there was no indication that was going to happen.
“We just didn’t come out at the start of the second half. We were a bit sloppy and you just can’t afford to do that at places like this. We got punished.”
No-one would have foreseen such a heavy defeat for Motherwell as the teams left the pitch at half time. Celtic struggled to get a foothold in the match in the first period and ‘Well even hit the post just minutes before the break.
More of the same would have been the order of the day at half time from Brown and Knox, but Ruddy thinks they were made to rue a slack start in the second half.
“The first goal was a massive blow.” He admitted. “I wouldn’t say it was to blame for us losing 4-nil but if you lose a goal so early in the second half it is a big issue. If you can ride out the first ten or fifteen minutes then maybe the story will be different.
“The talk in the dressing room before the game was that we could get points here. Celtic played a slightly weakened team…if you can call it that – so we fancied our chances. But when they can bring people like Robbie Keane and Diomansy Kamara off the bench it shows the quality in depth Celtic have got.
“We’ve got to bounce back – it’s a simple as that.” A determined Ruddy insisted.
Ruddy and Motherwell will now turn their attention to Wednesday night, and a massive game against Hibs in the battle for fourth spot. A win for ‘Well will see The Steelmen confirm the final definite Europa Cup berth for next season and the young keeper is in now doubt about just how vital the match will be:
“If we let Hibs beat us on Wednesday then it (fourth place) is well out of our hands. Wednesday is our biggest game of the season and we’ve got to turn up first and second half this time.”