Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers praised his players’ resolve in their 3-1 win over Kilmarnock.
Goals from Reo Hatate, Luis Palma and Greg Taylor sent the champions seven points clear at the top of the cinch Premiership and made David Watson’s strike – that made it 2-1 – no more than a consolation.
Rodgers admitted there had been a period of “grieving” following the midweek Champions League defeat to Lazio but credited the squad for not letting it affect them upon their return to league duty.
He said: “I’m really pleased with the performance today off the back of the game during the week.
“We could all touch the pain of that result because our display didn’t merit it.
“But it’s about how you respond. You grieve for 24 hours, I sensed it from everyone, the players and the supporters. But you need to show strength of mentality to get back to winning again.
“We showed that today because we switched back to perform well today. The players deserve credit for that.”
Hatate’s goal crowned an excellent individual performance and Rodgers revealed he had sat down with the Japan international earlier in the week to speak about his intensity levels.
He added: “This was the first game that Reo has come alive for me. He has to press the game and when he is at that level, then he is intense with the ball. He scored a brilliant goal and he was superb.
“I went through things with him the other day. If he wants to get to the highest level, there needs to be more intensity in his game. I took him through clips of his game, all without the ball.
“If you press the game well you will pass it well. But he took it on board, was very open and produced a fantastic performance today. That’s the level, you can’t switch the engine on and off.”
Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes felt that Celtic’s second goal, scored by Palma via a ricochet off Hatate, should have been ruled out.
He said: “Having seen the pictures for me it looks offside in the build-up when it bounces back off the Celtic player. So I’m disappointed with that as offside should be clear.
“When I saw it on the big screen I thought he was offside and when VAR were checking it I was expecting it to be chopped off.
“There might be better pictures in the VAR hub so any criticism of that at the minute is a wee bit contained as I’m just viewing it on the pictures that I’ve seen.
“I showed the referee the pictures that I’d seen. But they’re obviously dependent on the people in VAR looking at different angles.
“I saw an angle on my analyst’s laptop. Whether he’s a computer genius and has played around with the lines I don’t know. But it looked offside.”