IN the 20 years that he has been involved at Celtic as both a player and coach, John Kennedy has grown quite accustomed to the hysterical reaction that follows a defeat at the hands of Rangers.

So the fallout to the Glasgow club’s 2-1 loss to their city rivals at Parkhead at the end of last month has come as little surprise to the assistant manager and hasn’t fazed him in the slightest.

He is quick to play down the set-to with Ibrox first team coach Michael Beale, who was red carded by referee Kevin Clancy at the end of the 90 minutes, he was involved in on the touchline .

“It is an emotional time,” said Kennedy in Dubai, where the Scottish champions have travelled for a warm weather training break during the three week winter shutdown. “That is the way it goes sometimes.”

He is also keen to point out that online claims there was fighting in the tunnel following the game are without any foundation. “There was no such thing," he said. "It is just the usual nonsense.”

Kennedy doesn’t shy away from the fact that Neil Lennon’s side failed to perform at their very best against Steven Gerrard’s team, who are now two points off first place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a game in hand after their win, for the second time in three weeks and were deservedly beaten.

However, he feels the poor display and disappointing result shouldn’t be allowed to detract from what was otherwise an impressive six month spell and remains upbeat about what the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign holds.

“I’ve been at Celtic long enough that I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of it,” he said. “It’s a very emotional time after a game, in the first couple of days after it. Everyone forgets about everything else that happens apart from that game. There is always a little period when there are questions.

“The reality is you put things into perspective. You’ve got to take a league game and put it in perspective of the first half of the season. We’ve won the first cup, in Europe we’ve been terrific, in the league we’ve been terrific.

“We had a bad game. That’s the way we have to look at it. We have a great squad, a great squad to work with, and we’re in a very good place in terms of where we want to go.

“We have to make sure the players focus on what they’ve achieved so far this season and that will give us confidence. We will look at the game again in isolation and know there are things we could do better when it comes around again.

“But our standards have been very high and in one game we slipped. We have to get back on track and make sure we accelerate forward as we have been all season.”

Beale, the former Chelsea and Liverpool youth coach and Sao Paolo assistant, made a beeline for Kennedy after he had been ordered off at Parkhead and had a few choice words to say before he was ushered away.

However, the 36-year-old has seen it all, and worse, before in the world-famous fixture and doesn’t envisage the flare-up will impact on his relationship with his counterpart going forward.

“I know Michael very well and I have done since before he came to Rangers,” he said. “We have spoken in the past. There is no issue with us.

“He was in trouble with the officials, there was a bit of verbals, that’s it, end of. You have seen it numerous times with managers and coaches. The emotion of the game gets the better of you sometimes. You say some things, you move on.

“It probably looked worse than it actually was. He was having more with the officials than he was with me. There was nothing in it. There was no confrontation between me and him. There was a bit of verbals, nothing else. But he and the officials were having a bit together. We had a wee bit of toing and froing very briefly, but nothing major and it’s something I would quite like to put to bed.”

The same goes for the Rangers defeat. Celtic responded positively to losing 1-0 defeat at Ibrox in their final game before the winter break last year and Kennedy envisages the same thing happening again when play resumes later this month. He believes the Dubai trip will help them to achieve that goal.

“We’re the first to say it wasn’t good enough in terms of how we played,” he said. “The reality is we lost and we have to take that on the chin because we take the credit all the rest of the year.

“Most of the players are old and wise enough to know what comes off the back of a defeat to Rangers. But we’ve beaten them twice this season, the league campaign and the European campaigns were good until that game. We’ve had a setback, that’s all it is. A setback which will spur us on and give us extra energy and hunger going into the second half of the season.

“It’s good to be here again and get everyone back together. Dubai gives everyone a chance to reset again after a first half of the season which is always intense. It’s getting them refreshed with a week off and then a mini pre-season which usually sets us up well for the rest of the season.

“It’s an expensive trip, but it’s worked well for us in the past and, hopefully, it’ll be the same again. It gives you a change of scenery, a bit of better weather and it gets you away from Glasgow for a bit. It’s a chance to reset and refocus.

“You look at what you need to improve on, what’s been good for us. And what we do we need to do in the second half of the season. That’s always the objective, to come out here and start the second period well.”