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Hibs boss Terry Butcher has praised the effort and commitment shown by his players in yesterday’s narrow defeat to champions Celtic at Parkhead.

With Celtic in top form domestically, having thrashed Hearts 7-0 at Tynecastle then hammered Motherwell 5-0 at Fir Park, few gave the Easter Road men any hope going into the fixture, but the Hibs players dug in and but for the width of the post would have taken a share of the points from the east end of Glasgow.

With that game over, Butcher is looking to the next set of matches against St Johnstone, Ross County, Kilmarnock and Hearts and is determined to take maximum points to take them up the table into the top six.

Speaking to Hibernian TV, Butcher said: “Although we’ve lost 1-0 an it’s my first defeat as Hibs manager, I think we can walk out of here with our heads held high.

“In the second half, we pushed men up and really had a go, so in the end I thought we were really unlucky not to get something from it.

“But for the width of a post we would’ve got something from it. Full credit to the players – I thought they worked their socks off.

“We changed the shape quite a few times during the game and the players stuck to it; they carried out the instructions well and were committed.

“But it’s just that bit of quality and composure in the final third that is not quite there yet.

“We’ve come a long way already, but there is still a long way that we want to go.

“If we can improve on that, give them belief and improve the final ball then goals will come and we will go on and win games.

“I’m very optimistic about the games over the festive period with what we’ve got and what we can do.

“There are four games there that we feel we’ve got a good chance of winning.

“If we can show the same resilience and tenacity against other teams then we will do well and pick up points.

“We should be really encouraged and there is a lot to build on. We’re still taking small steps, but I’m pleased with the progress so far.”