CRAIG Gordon has predicted Celtic will react positively to their painful 1-0 defeat to Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday in the second half of the season and stressed they still have the edge in the Scottish title race despite the setback.

Gordon single-handedly prevented Brendan Rodgers’ side from suffering a far heavier loss to Steven Gerrard’s team after producing crucial saves from Daniel Candeias, Connor Goldson and Ryan Kent.

However, the goalkeeper, who had been on the losing side in just one of the 12 Glasgow derby matches he had been involved in before the weekend, is refusing to get downhearted by the Scottish champions’ disappointing showing.

He feels the Parkhead club, who were missing Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic and Kieran Tierney, will recover from the reverse and rediscover their best form in the remaining games of the 2018/19 campaign.

Gordon also denied that Celtic’s insistence on playing the ball out from the back had gifted their opponents the triumph and emphasised they are still ahead on goal difference and have played a game less.

“We have done so well at Ibrox in the past, but we didn’t play well enough to win,” he said. “But we are still top of the league with a game in hand. We will go away for a break, regroup and finish the season strongly.

“We just need to play better. We didn’t pass the ball particularly well at all, for whatever reason. But that has been a very successful style of play. We have done well doing that, winning a lot of matches at Ibrox playing that same way.

“That (teams pressing Celtic) is part of the game plan. It’s what we want. You want to try and play through them. It’s a cat and mouse game. You look to take advantage of that and so do the opposition. That’s part of the plan - to draw teams on to you to try and create space. We are going to try and enforce our game on everyone else.”

Gordon added: “We will look to improve, of course. We always learn from any defeats and analyse what happened. But we will come back stronger.

“It’s one win in 13 games. It’s still very heavily in our favour. It’s one game that we haven’t managed to win. We will stay calm, pick the bones out of it and come back stronger.”

Rodgers played Callum McGregor at left back against Rangers in the absence of Kieran Tierney and was forced to replace centre half Filip Benkovic with Kristoffer Ajer and right back Mikael Lustig with Anthony Ralston due to injuries during the game.

But Gordon denied they affected how Celtic performed on the day and also insisted the small number of away supporters inside Ibrox – the visitors had their allocation cut from 7,000 to 750 by their hosts – had played a part in the defeat.

“The changes didn’t make a great deal of an impact,” he said.“We were still set up to play in a certain style. We just didn’t manage to execute our gameplan well enough. Whatever player plays, they all know their roles.

“Callum did a good job at left back and we knew what we were trying to do. We just weren’t capable of carrying out the plan well enough.

“I was too busy concentrating on what was going on in the game in front of me. You don’t have time to really notice what’s happening. But I still heard the fans at times, trying to spur us on. I wouldn’t look for excuses elsewhere. We could still have done the job and got a result.”

The game at Ibrox on Saturday was the seventh in 11 outings that Celtic have failed to win away from home and Gordon admitted they have to begin picking up victories on the road once the Premiership resumes if they are to win the league once again.

“It’s been difficult,” he said. “Teams have played well against us. They want to raise their game to try and beat us. That’s something we always have to deal with and we just have to come back stronger and go on a good run and go and try and win games again. We need to start winning games, home and away.”

The defeat means Celtic are level on points with Rangers and just a point and two points in front of Kilmarnock and Aberdeen respectively.

“I think there’s a lot of teams who are stronger this season,” said Gordon. “If you look at the top eight in the league there’s not a great deal between them.

“It’s a good league, but we will look to improve over the winter break and come back far stronger.”