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Summary

  1. Celtic go 27 points clear at top of Premiership
  2. Dembele (3), Sinclair & Henderson for Celtic
  3. Substitute Dembele converted controversial penalty to make it 2-2
  4. Watson & Wotherspoon had put Saints 2-1 up at half-time

Live Reporting

By Clive Lindsay

All times stated are UK

Phew - and goodbye for now

A match full of controversy and thrilling action ends Scottish football's weekend and it is Celtic who again grab the headlines as they continue their unbeaten run at the top of the Scottish Premiership.

Join us again for more live action next weekend, when the focus is on the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.

Referee Craig Thomson
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Referee Craig Thomson has been criticised by St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright

'Goals were wonderful' - Rodgers

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Brendan Rodgers was short and sweet. Those dastardly stole him for so long. But the Celtic manager was obviously delighted with the win.

"I thought we played well in the first half, but I thought we could have defended better," he said.

"However, I knew we had won 4-2 here earlier in the season and our fitness always come through late in games and we scored some wonderful goals.

"Tommy will be disappointed. We got a bit of a rub of the green, but after that we were really fast and clinical - the last goal was sensational."

Celtic captain Scott Brown and manager Brendan Rodgers celebrate
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FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Brendan Rodgers: what can you say about him? He got close to the Premier League title a few years ago with Liverpool and you can see why he got close

Mark BurchillFormer Celtic striker on BBC Radio Scotland

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Colm Kilbane: Thomson had a shocker. As a Celtic fan, I prefer when my team wins fair and square. That wasn't fair on the Saints.

Ryan Kenny: Craig Thompson, get him dropped - worst decision ever. Handed Celtic that the day shocking 

Gee McCabe: Fantastic second half. Unstoppable!!!  

Stephen Stockman: That lad Dembele, quite good at football.  

'We should have two penalties' - Wright

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright has been measured in his response but has been highly critical of referee Craig Thomson.

"We should have had two penalties," he told BBC Radio Scotland. "I am not going to sit on the fence.

"When he (Scott Brown) makes contact with the player (Danny Swanson) and not a ball, that's a penalty, and he doesn't give it.

"Then Joe Shaughnessy is dragged down when the ball is in the air in the penalty box.

"As for Celtic's penalty, I genuinely don't know how he could give it. It has hit his hip and could have touched his elbow, but I don't know how he could have seen it.

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright
SNS

"That should not happen at this level of football. And that has happened twice now - when Brown pushed Anderson the other week.

"Granted, Celtic could go on to win the game without that decision as they have so much talent.

"But the decision changes the whole dynamics of the game.

"Regarding my players, I don't think they could have given me any more, but regarding the officials they could have."

Managers to come

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

We are now waiting for the managers. St Johnstone's Tommy Wright is no doubt taking his time to calm down.

Rodgers' Celtic march on

You can now read Chris McLaughlin's impressions of the match at McDiarmid Park.

Celtic celebrate

St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Moussa Dembele scores a hat-trick as Celtic beat St Johnstone and go 27 points clear at the top of the Premiership.

Read more

Dembele dumps St Johnstone

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Moussa Dembele was only on the park for the final 30 minutes after his return from injury.

However, his clinical hat-trick takes the French striker's tally for the season to 23 goals.

Celtic's Patrick Roberts and Moussa Dembele celebrate
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Moussa Dembele (right) scored a hat-trick after coming on as a sub

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

We don't want to be talking about penalties when a team like Celtic are playing so well, but the referee has made a couple of bad mistakes

Mark BurchillFormer Celtic striker on BBC Radio Scotland

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Craig Thomson should be embarrassed about his performance after two critical decisions, but it is a sign of a good team to be ruthless

Willie MillerBBC Radio Scotland pundit

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Chris McLaughlin

BBC Sport Scotland at McDiarmid Park

Dembele and Sinclair are so clinical when it counts.

Relentless Celtic

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Celtic stretch their lead at the top of the table to 27 points over Aberdeen.

That's their 23rd straight domestic victory and they are six short of their club record of 25 consecutive wins in the league.

Brendan Rodgers' side have now gone 29 domestic games unbeaten since the start of the season, stretching that new club record.

YELLOW CARD

FT: St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

There's a bit of afters as Mikael Lustig confronts St Johnstone midfielder Liam Craig forehead to forehead and the Celtic defender goes into the referee's book.

Meanwhile, referee Craig Thomson is booed off the park by the home support, angry at that penalty decision.

FULL-TIME St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

St Johnstone will have a sense of grievance, but Celtic have been wonderful in this second half

Willie MillerBBC Radio Scotland pundit

St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Nadir Ciftci has come on for Celtic - the Turkish striker's first appearance since an early-season Champions League qualifier - and replaces Patrick Roberts.

Liam Craig is on for St Johnstone, replacing Danny Swanson.

GOAL St Johnstone 2-5 Celtic

Moussa Dembele

Celtic are showboating now and two back-heels inside the penalty box from Mikael Lustig and Callum McGregor and Moussa Dembele fires home from 14 yards for a quick-fire hat-trick. 

The Frenchman has only been on the park for 20 minutes.

St Johnstone 2-4 Celtic

That unbeaten run - indeed, their winning run - looks likely to keep rolling on unless there is a major upset in the dying minutes.

GOAL St Johnstone 2-4 Celtic

Scott Sinclair

Celtic punish St Johnstone with a quick break. A bad touch from Brian Easton in the Celtic penalty box lets Scott Brown set Patrick Roberts clear and he sets up fellow winger Scott Sinclair for a cool finish.

That's the Englishman's 16th goal of the season. 

CLOSE!

St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic

Steven MacLean almost makes an immediate impact. The striker's near-post header deflects off Erik Sviatchenko and wide.

St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic

Saints bring on Steven MacLean, their main striker who was surprisingly dropped to the bench, in place of Richard Foster.

Dembele on target again

St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic

Moussa Dembele was linked with a £30-40m move to Chelsea during the January transfer window and the young Frenchman has again shown why he is so highly regarded.

His two goals have taken his tally to the season - his first with Celtic - to 22 goals.

Moussa Dembele equalises from the penalty spot for Celtic
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Moussa Dembele equalised from the penalty spot for Celtic

GOAL St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic

Moussa Dembele

Celtic rub salt into Saints wounds and it is that man Moussa Dembele again. Mikael Lustig does well to gather at the back post and play a low pass into the Frenchman's path and the 20-year-old steers a low drive home from 16 yards.

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St Johnstone 2-2 Celtic

Celtic are cranking up the pressure. Difficult times for the home side, who are obviously feeling aggrieved by that equaliser.

St Johnstone 2-2 Celtic

Celtic scorer Liam Henderson's time is up and Callum McGregor replaces him in midfield. 

St Johnstone 2-2 Celtic

St Johnstone make a change in midfield. David Wotherspoon has run out of steam and is replaced with Blair Alston, who has still to make the impact expected of him when he moved from Falkirk.

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Wright furious

St Johnstone 2-2 Celtic

Chris McLaughlin

BBC Sport Scotland at McDiarmid Park

"Dembele never looked like he was going to miss from the spot, but real controversy over the decision. Tommy Wright furious in the St Johnstone technical area. Didn't look like an obvious spot-kick for me."

St Johnstone 2-2 Celtic

Craig Thomson has to go home and be ashamed of that decision. I hope there is some justice in football and St Johnstone get something out of this game

Willie MillerBBC Radio Scotland pundit

GOAL St Johnstone 2-2 Celtic

Moussa Dembele

Moussa Dembele calmly slots the penalty kick into the roof of the net. Quick impact by the Celtic substitute, but it is a controversial one.

It's never ever a penalty. It hits his hip first before it hits his arm.

Mark BurchillFormer Celtic striker on BBC Radio Scotland

PENALTY

St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic

Celtic are given a rather dubious penalty for hand ball against Keith Watson. Kieran Tierney's cross struck the defender's hip and elbow, but there was no way it was deliberate.

St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic

The menacing figure of Celtic's top scorer, Moussa Dembele, takes the field in place of Gary Mackay-Steven.

YELLOW CARD

St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic

Paul Paton is fortunate to escape with only a booking for a cynical trip on Nir Bitton. The Saints midfielder was obviously frustrated as David Wotherspoon had just squandered a chance to break right in front of the Celtic goal.

PENALTY APPEAL

St Johstone 2-1 Celtic

Referee Craig Thomson waves away Danny Swanson's claims for a penalty as the winger goes down under a challenge from Scott Brown. The Celtic captain is lucky to get away with that one as the Scotland midfielder makes an attempt to kick the ball from behind as Swanson shielded it and got the man instead.

Ouch!

St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic

Celtic right-back Mikael Lustig takes a sore one in the chest as he concedes a foul for obstruction on Danny Swanson.

CLOSE!

St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic

Celtic are already laying siege to the Saints defence and Liam Henderson forces a near-post save from Zander Clark then, from the corner, Gary Mackay-Steven sweeps an effort wide.

St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic

Celtic's plan is obviously to give the ball to Scott Sinclair as early as possible and get him moving towards the Saints defence at pace

Mark BurchillFormer Celtic striker on BBC Radio Scotland