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Summary

  1. O'Halloran squanders two good chances for Saints
  2. Ciftci gives Celtic the lead
  3. Boyata heads home from a corner
  4. Ciftci grabs his second to make it 3-0

Live Reporting

By Colin Moffat

All times stated are UK

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That's enough from me. We'll have Saturday's Premiership highlights online from 18:00 GMT, with today's game appearing at midnight.

Of course, Sportscene will be on BBC One Scotland at 22:30, with David Currie sitting in for regular presenter Jonathan Sutherland, who is under the weather...

We'll have more adventures in live text next weekend. Enjoy what's left of your weekend...

Celtic simply go marching on. Ronny Deila's men were a bit sluggish to start with but grew stronger and stronger at McDiarmid Park, running out comfortable winners.

Motherwell travel to Celtic Park next Saturday.

St Johnstone stay in fourth place, with their seven-game unbeaten sequence over. Next up is another home game, with Hearts, the team immediately above them, in Perth next weekend.

Manager Tommy Wright was upbeat despite today's defeat, suggesting his team had enough chances to win the game. That's maybe a stretch. There were a few good openings for the hosts in the first half but the scoreline tells a very different story.

Wizard of Oz

Celtic manager Ronny Deila on Tom Rogic

“He’s getting better and better. Technically he’s very good, finding pockets between the lines, good penetrating passes. It’s fun to see.”

Tom Rogic takes on Dave Mackay
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I'm always disappointed when we lose but I'll get over that quickly because I'm not disappointed with the performance. We created good chances against a quality side and we'll dust ourselves down.

Tommy WrightSt Johnstone manager

Nadir Ciftci, Craig Gordon and Tom Rogic will hog the headlines for Celtic but Mikael Lustig is worthy of a mention. The full-back was up and down the flank all day and had a hand in two goals.

"He's a seven out of 10 every week," enthuses Sportsound pundit Allan Preston. "His levels of consistency are fantastic."

Celtic celebrate
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Good day for Gordon

Craig Gordon had a shocker on Thursday, gifting Fenerbahce their opening goal. Today the Celtic goalie was back to his best, making two good saves to deny Michael O'Halloran and Murray Davidson in the first half.

"He was unbelievable," manager Ronny Deila tells BBC Radio Scotland.

Cheer for Ciftci

We had a tough game on Thursday and had to recover quickly. It's a heavy pitch and hard on the legs so it's pleasing to get the win. There is always pressure at a club like this so I need to make the most of the chances I get.

Nadir CiftciCeltic striker

FULL-TIME

St Johnstone 0-3 Celtic

The first half was feisty and evenly contested but Celtic strolled to maximum points from the moment Dedryk Boyata thumped in a header for goal number two early in the second period.

Nadir Ciftci struck either side of that effort as the champions move four points clear at the top.

We'll get two minutes of stoppage time at McDiarmid Park.

No hat-trick for Nadir Ciftci as the Celtic striker makes way for Scott Allan. The big striker will be feeling much better about himself after doubling his tally for the season.

St Johnstone will stay fourth in the Premiership as their seven-game unbeaten sequence is brought to a shuddering halt.

You can't afford to squander three good one-on-one chances against the champions.

Celtic might have been considered vulnerable without top scorer Leigh Griffiths and midfield anchor Nir Bitton but they have grown stronger and stronger in this game and are making light work of what looked like a very tricky fixture.

This will be 10 wins on the spin this season in post-European games for Celtic, which is impressive. The bad news is there will be no more European games.

Celtic also make change and there is time for striker Carlton Coleto get among the goals, with Tom Rogic leaving us early and getting a richly deserved round of applause for his efforts.

Ten minutes to go and Saints withdraw top scorer Steven MacLean, with Chris Kane his replacement.

St Johnstone are struggling to get a touch as Celtic pop the ball around with increasing confidence. The champions are moving four points clear of Aberdeen and have a game in hand on their nearest challengers.

St Johnstone resistance is seriously crumbling now as James Forrest scurries forward and drills an inviting delivery across the face of goal. No takers in green and white though...

It's not going to get any easier for St Johnstone as Celtic introduce crafty playmaker Kris Commons. Stuart Armstrong is the man making way.

GOAL St Johnstone 0-3 Celtic (Ciftci)

Nadir Ciftci is doing a cartwheel to celebrate as he nods in a delivery from Mikael Lustig.

An impressive run and cross from the Swedish defender, simple header, not so great cartwheel...

Nadir Ciftic scores his second
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Tom English

BBC Sport Scotland at McDiarmid Park

Emphatic start to the second half from Celtic. Dedryck Boyota went close to scoring from a Callum McGregor corner in the first half and the same combination managed to pull it off this time. Again, Saints will be angry to concede within their own six-yard box. The home team are resilient, but at 2-0 are they as resilient as they need to be now?

The caution count continues to grow as St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon is booked for a late tackle on James Forrest.

More problems for the hosts as they defend a Celtic corner, with the ball pinballing around and legs thrashing wildly before it is cleared.

Wry cheers from the home fans as Celtic's Stefan Johansen is booked for persistent fouling. This time it's a trip on David Wotherspoon in the middle of the park.

Tom Rogic has probably been Celtic's best player but that's a horrible moment for the Australia international. Emilio Izaguirre squirts in along the byline to lay it on a plate for the tall midfielder but he somehow skews the shot wide.

Celtic are getting a bit more time on the ball as heads dip a little in the home ranks.

Clearly not only #Celtic that concede #goals from #corners Terrible defending by #Saints

HITS THE WOODWORK

So close to an instant reply as Saints left-back Brian Easton thunders a shot against the post from 25 yards. What a strike that was!

GOAL St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic (Boyata)

Too easy. Callum McGregor swings in a corner and Dedryk Boyata charges in to power home a header from six yards or so.

Dedryk Boyata
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KICK-OFF

The second half is up and running.

The teams are making their way back out and Saints forward Steven MacLean quickly resumes his chit-chat with Crawford Allan, which the referee looks delighted about...

Celtic have been rumoured to be interested in Michael O'Halloran. Could that have been on the St Johnstone forward's mind as he wasted two good one-on-one chances? Murray Davidson was also through with just Craig Gordon to beat...

I say "just" but the Celtic keeper is a class act when on form.

Ciftci took goal well but as they have been for months, @celticfc defensively abysmal, could very easily be 3-1 #bbcsportscot

Tom English

BBC Sport Scotland at McDiarmid Park

Craig Gordon had a nightmare in Istanbul but he's doing his stuff here. Important saves from Davidson and Wotherspoon. The O'Halloran breaks free and pushes. Shot wide. Saints have a phenomenal habit of coming from behind to win games this season. Doughty boys.

A couple of St Johnstone bookings to tell you about... Steven MacLean is cautioned for a challenge on Dedryk Boyata and, as the teams leave the field for the interval, skipper Dave Mackay is also shown a yellow card for remonstrating with referee Crawford Allan.

HALF-TIME

St Johnstone 0-1 Celtic

The visitors lead thanks to Nadir Ciftic's quick thinking and excellent technique. It's maybe harsh on the Saints, who have created several good openings.

Nadir Ciftci
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St Johnstone come again and this time it's Michael O'Halloran thundering forward from the left. He gets into the penalty box and takes aim for the far corner but gets his angles all wrong, sending it well wide.

GREAT SAVE!

Saints midfielder Murray Davidson charges into the penalty area after a neat step-over from Steven MacLean but Craig Gordon is able to beat away his ferocious shot.

The Celtic keeper then has to scramble back to his feet and deal with a deflected follow-up effort from David Wotherspoon.

Celtic are caught napping as David Wotherspoon works a free-kick low to the edge of the penalty box but Liam Miller cannot keep his first-time effort down and the shot sails over.

Tom English

BBC Sport Scotland at McDiarmid Park

There we go. Nadir Ciftci has waited quite a while for that goal. His third for Celtic. Good control and quick finish from close range. Tommy Wright will be livid that he was left alone in there. Rogic is really grabbing this game by the throat now. Celtic now in control.

GOAL St Johnstone 0-1 Celtic (Ciftci)

Mikael Lustig flicks on the corner he won and Nadir Ciftci controls the ball on his thigh before spinning to fire home a rasping shot in a busy penalty box. Impressive finish...