Dundee United goalkeeper Mark Birighitti has demanded “accountability” after declaring “we killed ourselves” against Celtic.
United turned in a gutsy performance against the Hoops on Saturday, eventually bringing the score back to 2-2 in the dying embers through Dylan Levitt.
However, Kyogo Furuhashi restored the hosts’ advantage on the 90-minute mark, with the 5ft7ins attacker able to ghost in and meet an Anthony Ralston flick-on from a Matt O’Riley corner-kick.
Celtic then made it 4-2 through Liel Abada — but the damage was done.
United have conceded from headed goals in each of their last four games and Birighitti was in no mood to pull his punches.
“We need a bit of accountability on our end,” said the Australian international. “We spoke about set-pieces during the week — Celtic take throw-ins quickly; corners quickly; all set-pieces quickly.
“But we just weren’t switched on and it killed us. We killed ourselves. I am lost for words.
“We went to Parkhead with a game-plan and I thought we executed it perfectly. We got behind the ball and hit them on the counter. It is frustrating to give away a c**p goal in the last minute.”
Sead Haksabanovic notched a brace for Celtic either side of a Steven Fletcher penalty, sending the Hoops in at the break with a 2-1 lead.
However, even prior to Levitt’s leveller, Glenn Middleton saw a shot cleared off the line and Ryan Edwards thundered a header off the post.
Celtic also hit the woodwork twice through Greg Taylor and James Forrest, nevertheless Liam Fox could be content with his side’s efforts — until the late collapse.
With Birighitti visibly dejected and angry, he was asked if Saturday’s result hurt the group more than the 9-0 hammering earlier in the season, for which he was on the bench.
“Yes, 100%. We were so close — just a few minutes away,” he added. “If we had come away with a point that would really have kick-started us and given us real confidence going into the next two games.”
Haksabanovic’s second goal came through a crowd of bodies and squirmed through the fingers of Birighitti, nestling in the back of the net.
“We didn’t really need to give away a corner,” he added. “I thought we could have cleared it up the field.
“But we give away a corner and a second phase shot came through bodies. I saw it late. There wasn’t much I could do about it.”
Killie ‘cup final’
“It is a cup final for us,” Birighitti continued bluntly. “We need to win that. There is no other way.
“We need to pick three points up on Wednesday night. It is a must-win game for us.”