St Mirren 0-4 Celtic

Celtic fired in four goals during an impressive second-half performance to dismantle St Mirren and extend their lead at the top of the Premiership.

Charlie Mulgrew poked home the opener seven minutes into the second half, which was followed by Anthony Stokes' inch-perfect shot five minutes later.

Kris Commons headed in the third in the 69th minute and blasted home the fourth two minutes later from close-range.

A late John McGinn free-kick failed to produce a Buddies consolation.

The win increases Celtic's lead at the top of the Premiership to 14 points and extends their run of clean sheets to eight in domestic competitions.

St Mirren have now won only two matches in their last 10, despite an impressive unbeaten run at home, and find themselves in ninth place on 20 points, three ahead of 10th-placed Ross County.

After some good early work by Stokes and Commons, a Mulgrew shot from the edge of the St Mirren penalty area was stubbornly blocked.

Interview - Celtic manager Neil Lennon

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Interview - Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Ten minutes later, Stokes was similarly denied with a strike from 18 yards that struggled to find a way through the resolute Buddies defence.

Steven Thompson struggled to rise above Virgil van Dijk to reach a Sean Kelly cross, then Efe Ambrose was forced to turn out a Jason Naismith cross for a corner as St Mirren pushed for a foothold on the game.

Mulgrew's left-footed shot in the 25th minute rebounded off the near-side post and back into the arms of St Mirren keeper Marian Kello.

Sensing Kello off his line, Commons pivoted inside the penalty to deliver a lofted shot that crashed off the same post.

As half-time approached, an Emilio Izaguirre cross was met by the head of Commons but his glancing effort drifted wide of the target, then Danny Grainger's long-range free-kick sailed over Fraser Forster's crossbar.

Seven minutes after the restart, Celtic broke the deadlock when Matthews weaved his way through the St Mirren defence for Mulgrew to poke home from close range.

Stokes followed it up five minutes later with a clinical right-footed shot after Joe Ledley had threaded a pass through the St Mirren defence.

Kello was forced into a succession of saves, tipping a thundering effort from Scott Brown over the bar, then Stokes had a similar shot denied by the Buddies keeper.

Celtic's third and fourth of the afternoon arrived in the space of two minutes when Commons headed in his 16th goal of the season from an Izaguirre cross then thrashed a close-range effort into the top of the net from a James Forrest cut-back.

The Scotland international could have easily grabbed his third with a low drive that inched past the near-side post.

With time running out, Forster was forced to make a clumsy clearance having remained completely untroubled by St Mirren for the entire 90 minutes.

In the final minute of the game, Paul McGowan blasted a long-range effort over the Celtic crossbar, then McGinn's added-time free-kick rebounded off the wall - and with it went any hope of a consolation on a miserable afternoon for the home support.

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