Scottish Premiership
Celtic3St Johnstone1

Celtic 3-1 St Johnstone

Gary Mackay-Steven scores for Celtic against St Johnstone
Gary Mackay-Steven opened his account for the season with a brace

Celtic moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with an assured victory over St Johnstone.

The defending champions were efficient as they took control with first-half goals from Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong.

St Johnstone briefly rallied, and tied the game at 1-1 when Steven MacLean equalised.

But they had no answer to Celtic's growing authority and Mackay-Steven netted again after the break.

Leaders too strong for Saints

St Johnstone's resistance lasted only nine minutes, though they may consider that a feat given how ruthlessly Celtic dispatched Hamilton 8-1 in midweek with three early goals.

Few defences have found the means to curtail Leigh Griffiths this season and, after his effort was blocked, Mackay-Steven darted through to drive past Alan Mannus.

The visitors from Perth did not allow their sprightliness to be subdued by the circumstances and Michael O'Halloran's pace could not be contained.

He may yet complete a move to Rangers but he was focused in Glasgow and skipped past Kieran Tierney to cross for MacLean to finish from close range.

Frustration might have set in for the home side but Armstrong was brilliantly accurate and composed as he swept a first-time volley into the net from Mikael Lustig's cross.

Another goal after the break finally quelled St Johnstone's spirit. Johansen's pass might have been aimed at Griffiths, but the ball fell perfectly into Mackay-Steven's stride for him to finish with cool aplomb.

Youngsters on form

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie
Ryan Christie made his Celtic debut in the second half

The display was sound from Celtic and scattered with the promise of their youthful attacking players.

Though over elaborate, Celtic dominated possession and Mackay-Steven, Griffiths and Callum McGregor all impressed in the final third, while debutant Ryan Christie replaced Armstrong late on.

The standout Celtic player was Tierney, though, who played with a depth of composure and awareness that sets him apart in defence and attack.

There were other half-chances, so that the scoreline might better have reflected Celtic's hold in the game, but also a clearance off his own goal-line from Johansen.

St Johnstone never lost heart, but the gap in quality could not be breached.

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 4Ambrose
  • 5Simunovic
  • 63Tierney
  • 6Bitton
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forAllanat 79'minutes
  • 16Mackay-StevenSubstituted forForrestat 86'minutes
  • 25Johansen
  • 14ArmstrongSubstituted forChristieat 88'minutes
  • 9Griffiths

Substitutes

  • 3Izaguirre
  • 7Ciftci
  • 17Christie
  • 19Allan
  • 20Boyata
  • 38Fasan
  • 49Forrest

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 14ShaughnessyBooked at 45mins
  • 6Anderson
  • 3Scobbie
  • 24Easton
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCaddisat 69'minutes
  • 4Lappin
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 18CumminsSubstituted forCraigat 45'minutes
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forSuttonat 65'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Mackay
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 16Caddis
  • 25Kane
  • 26Craig
  • 27Thomson
Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
43,948

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home20
Away7
Shots on Target
Home14
Away5
Corners
Home3
Away2
Fouls
Home18
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 3, St. Johnstone 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 3, St. Johnstone 1.

Foul by Ryan Christie (Celtic).

Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Ryan Christie replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Attempt missed. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Gary Mackay-Steven.

Foul by Scott Allan (Celtic).

Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Scott Allan replaces Callum McGregor.

Attempt missed. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Jozo Simunovic (Celtic).

Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

Tam Scobbie (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt missed. Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Caddis replaces Murray Davidson.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high.

Kieran Tierney (Celtic) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by John Sutton (St. Johnstone).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. John Sutton replaces Steven MacLean.

Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Foul by Efe Ambrose (Celtic).

Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Steven Anderson.

Attempt saved. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Leigh Griffiths.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jozo Simunovic.

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Foul by Kieran Tierney (Celtic).

Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic23174263194455
2Aberdeen23154438221649
3Hearts22117442241840
4Ross County24103114037333
5St Johnstone229583634232
6Inverness CT237883032-229
7Dundee237883539-429
8Partick Thistle226792128-725
9Motherwell2274112436-1225
10Hamilton2366112945-1624
11Kilmarnock2466122747-2024
12Dundee Utd2334162446-2213
View full Scottish Premiership table

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