Back to building up momentum

Jim Jefferies wants to start off on another long unbeaten run starting with Saturday's meeting with against St Johnstone. Their game with Celtic in midweek halted a run of 10 wins and 31 points out of a possible 33 in 11 SPL games. The 4-0 result was thanks to an ineffectual response to goals from Anthony Stokes (two), James Forrest and Paddy McCourt who were all on target at Parkhead. The result, coming just a few days after the 1-0 win over Rangers at Tynecastle, cooled hopes of a three-way title fight for the title. Still sitting in third place - 10 points behind first-placed Celtic, having played a game less, and five points behind Rangers, who have two games in-hand on their Old Firm rivals - Jefferies is staying bullish. He said: "There's no gloom about this place. It's about how we react to the result. Wednesday's game will be forgotten if we can bounce back on Saturday against St Johnstone. It's a chance for us now to try and go on as good a run as we had the last time. We're on track to have a good season. Last year we were struggling a wee bit. You can't just come in in one season and turn it round to win a championship. You've got to be realistic. The players have showed great improvement on last year and we'll continue to try and do that and see where it takes us at the end of the season."

Jefferies knows his side were simply not at their best against Celtic, but hopes his players are better able to cope in future meetings with the Old Firm. He went on: "Sometimes the pressure itself, mental tiredness comes in when they're producing week-in, week-out. And then you go in against the top two, who are used to it because they're having to face it every week. It's something we can learn from. If we keep in touch with them the next time they come round, you've got to know what to expect. They've had a taste of it."

Jefferies is still pleased with how his team have performed and the away record of eight wins and two losses from 10 games, despite the defeat, is not one to scoff at. He added: "Celtic are the only team to have beaten us away from home. If we go this season with only Celtic beating us away from home, you'll be saying it's a marvellous record. Neil (Lennon) said it was one of Celtic's best performances, which it was. They played very well, as did Rangers on Saturday. It was two tough matches. For us to come out with three points - if it had been two draws we'd have had two points. It would have been great if we'd got the six, we'd be sitting here being asked questions about 'are we going to win the league?' But we've got nothing to feel down about - it's about bouncing back."