St Johnstone may have lost by three goals to Celtic but manager Tommy Wright praised his team for not succumbing to an even heavier defeat.
The Perth side were 3-0 down through Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths goals with less than half-an-hour played.
Saints have suffered much worse against the champions on more than one occasion in recent seasons and another big scoreline was staring them in the face.
But a half-time reshuffle, including a debut for Jamie McCart, helped stop the bleeding and Wright’s men actually had the better chances in the second half.
The McDiarmid Park boss said: “It wasn’t good in the first half an hour. We were passive, defended too deep and didn’t win a header in our own box.
“It was poor and we knew it was poor.
“We then went out and showed character. That’s the positive out of the game.
“We got up the pitch and forced a few corners and worked their keeper. We put tackles in and ruffled a few feathers.
“After 30 minutes you would take 3-0 but certainly the first 30 minutes was poor.
“There’s a gulf in class – that’s obvious – but we all have to deal with it as smaller clubs.
“I’ve got to give the players credit for keeping a clean sheet in the last hour.”
He added: “Jamie was good. He did well. They all did well in the second half. People will say Celtic took their foot off the gas but Neil (Lennon) wanted more goals on the touchline.”
Meanwhile, Saints are understood to be on the verge of completing the pre-contract signing of Shaun Rooney from Inverness, with young Stoke City midfielder Lasse Sorensen a loan target for this window.
Wright said: “Hopefully we’ll get one or two loans in and I think that might happen. The next 48 hours will be busy for everybody. It’s just mad this window and always seems to come down to the last couple of days.”
Lennon described the football played by his team in the first half as “breath-taking”.