Everything Celtic defender Liam Scales said to the media, ahead of their game against Livingston on Saturday afternoon in the Scottish Premiership...

Liam, I think it’s 10 years since the club has had to bounce back from back-to-back league defeats. What’s that feeling like?

It’s tough. It’s been a tough week, getting to grips with it. We’re getting over it now and we know we need to bounce back, and that’s the main aim. We’re working hard to do that, and we’ve had a week to prepare for this game, which is unusual given the schedule we’ve had. We’ve been using the week well to just go over things and fine-tune things for the upcoming games.

To many clubs, that’s hardly a disaster. Is that just a sign of the level of expectation here, given the fallout that has been there after two defeats?

We know it’s not good enough for Celtic. The pressure is there, and you know you need to win games. Anything but a win isn’t good enough really. We know that. Over the course of the season, it’s not disastrous. If we bounce back and do well it should be fine, it’s just been a tough week and we need to just fix it now.

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What’s it like for you, dealing with everything that’s been going on? Coming in and getting individual praise but maybe at a time where there is team criticism. How do you balance those two things up?

The team comes first. You don’t get individual praise if you’re not picking up points and winning games, and that’s really it. I’m really just here to win games as a team. I know performing individually will help the team win, and everyone is on the same page with that, but it’s about the team.

You said you’re getting over it and working to fix it. What’s been the main message from the manager this week?

I think we feel like sometimes we maybe expect it just to happen, just playing at home or playing against teams playing in the league, you just expect it to happen for us without actually taking the game by the horns and being aggressive and going and winning the game. We sometimes just expect it to happen when we show up, which we can’t do, and that’s where we need to brush up on a few things.

What’s the mood been like amongst the players this last week?

Obviously you’re down a little bit, but we know that we’re still in a good position. It’s in our hands to go and turn it around. As players, we know we’re the players that can go and turn it around, and that’s the mood. We had a couple of days where you’re disappointed, but the games come thick and fast and you bounce back quickly. The mood is a bit better now than it was.

After the Hearts match, the manager spoke about not being surprised at some of the level of performances, or even the result that followed. As a player, how difficult is that to hear that the manager wasn’t surprised about the level of commitment or quality or results that the team are showing?

I could see where he is coming from. It’s not nice to hear, but you can see where it’s coming from  Our performances aren’t probably where they should be, so he makes a good point. It does hurt as a player to hear that and I think we need to change, and not let that be the case again.

A couple of results, and there is that big fallout. What would be your message to those Celtic fans who are worried about the direction of the team at the moment?

It’s in our hands. We know if we win our games we can still go and be successful. It’s a minor blip in the course of the season. We need to turn the corner and get over it. That’s it really, it’s not a complete disaster. 

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There’s been a lot of talk from the manager as well about needing quality in January. Do you feel at this moment that the squad is well-equipped enough to go and win the title and Scottish Cup?

The quality here is brilliant. Although we haven’t reached our full potential maybe, the quality and depth in the squad are great. The manager is in charge, and if he needs to make some tweaks in January, then so be it. That’s his choice. I can’t make a massive opinion on that. I think the quality here is brilliant and it’s just all about finding the form now and confidence and taking it by the horns and getting it over the line.

You talk about the title race still being in your hands. Do you, as players talk about the title race and the fact that the points gap is shortening? Is that something you discuss in the changing room? 

No, not at all. We discuss the game that’s just been played and the next game, and that’s it on a week to week basis. We don’t look too far ahead, but we know what’s at stake, with the results that we get and we know it’s in the background, but it’s not discussed by us at all. 

Should the Celtic fans expect to see a different Celtic from the last two weeks? Should they expect to see that from the off?

Definitely. I think everyone knows it hasn’t been good enough and it hasn’t been the level that we know we can get to and have got to in the past. It was unusual to lose either side of a great win in Europe. We had a great performance in midweek, but it doesn’t really mean much if we’re not bringing that into the league. I think the fans have seen how well we can play, it’s just a matter of being more consistent with it and really imposing ourselves on teams rather than just thinking it’ll happen eventually. That’s how you slip away from being successful.

Just want to talk about your position. You’ve been the ever-present centre-half this season for Celtic. I think you’ve got now six or seven first-team defenders fit. Has the return of all the other defenders in your position spurred you on? Does it give you the hunger to keep improving to keep your place in the team?

Yeah, definitely. I’m always hungry to improve, but when you know there’s people chomping at the bit to play games. There’s a deep squad with lots of numbers. You know that there’s lots of pressure on you to play well and as defenders we want to keep clean sheets, which we haven’t done over the last couple of weeks. That’s where I want to improve and just be stronger defensively by not conceding as many goals as a team. If we do that, then we’ll win our games.

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How has the relationship been between all of the centre-backs. You and Cameron Carter-Vickers have been first-choice, you’ve got internationals like Nawrocki and Lagerbielke, and Nat Phillips coming from Liverpool. Stephen Welsh as well. How do you all get on, is it competitive, are you friends? How does it work?

Everyone in the dressing room is friends. There are no cliques or enemies. We’re all friends, but it’s competition at the same time. We push each other, and subconsciously you know you’re being pushed. The guys who aren’t playing as much as they want to be are really eager to get into the team, so the standard of training has been brilliant. It’s a positive thing, and there’s no real bad blood between anyone.

How did the reaction after the Hearts game strike you, as a Celtic fan?

I think it was a build-up of obviously losing the previous game. It’s not good enough. They’re entitled to having a go if they feel like it’s not good enough, and clearly it wasn’t. Coming up to Christmas, we need to be better for them, and I don’t think the reaction was over the top. It hurts, but that’s where we need to improve, for them.

It must light a fire under you for Livingston then?

Yeah, it does, 100 per cent.