Motherwell defender Richard Tait has insisted that the Fir Park side cannot afford to lick their wounds after being on the wrong end of a 5-1 walloping at Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon.

Having felt as though they had held their own in the two previous meetings against the Parkhead side at Hampden and at Fir Park, Motherwell were rarely in the game on Saturday, something that Tait couldn’t quite put his finger on.

Despite that, however, the 28-year-old has maintained that last week and the unusual scenario of playing the same team three times in succession is not the week that will definite Motherwell’s season.

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“I think the most disappointing aspect was that we just didn’t play anywhere as well as we can,” he said.

“I am not sure what the reason for that is. We had a wee spell after we got the goal but we weren’t able to hang on for any real length of time.

“It is a hard one to take. No-one likes to lose that way and by that amount but we just have to take it on the chin and move one.”

Tait himself laid one of Celtic’s goals on a plate when his header back towards goalkeeper Trevor Carson fell woefully short of finding the stopper, allowing Odsonne Edouard to nick in and seal his hat-trick.

“Yeah, it wasn’t my finest moment,” lamented Tait. “By that stage I think our heads were gone and our legs were gone. I don’t know what I was thinking.

“It was stupid. I didn’t sense the danger and by the time I realised what was happening, it was too late.

“But, like I say, we have a really busy run of game coming up now and that is what we have to focus on.

“This season we have proved a few people wrong already but we aren’t happy to stop there. We want to keep on pushing ourselves, which is why Saturday was so difficult to take.”

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Motherwell face a run of away games now in a congested December fixture card.

The Fir Park side are away to Tynecastle, Firhill and Rugby Park over the next few weeks with Tait believing that these are the games that will determine the fate of Motherwell this season.

“What we do in games against Celtic is never going to have any real bearing on our league campaign,” he said. “It is where we are picking up points elsewhere.

“We have a lot of games coming up before December and we want to focus on getting as many points on the board as we can.

“That is what will define our season.

“It is vital that we allow this one to get out of our system and then make sure that we are in the right frame of mind to go and put on the kind of performances that we know we are capable of.

“We felt that we gave a pretty strong account of ourselves in the other two games against Celtic so to go down to easily was a hard one to take but it is now all about how we react to that.”

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Meanwhile, Stephen Robinson also lamented the limpness of his side at Celtic Park.

“Celtic are a top class team but if you are going to sit off them then you have no chance,” he said. “As well as outplaying us, they outfought us.

“That was the biggest disappointment for me. It was always going to be a hard task but I felt some of our boys turned up expecting to get nothing.

“That is disappointing – it is not the way I set the team up to play.

“The way we turned up in the first-half just wasn’t us.”