Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone3CelticCeltic3
By Cheri BurnsBBC Scotland

A late goal meant St Johnstone and Celtic shared the spoils at McDiarmid Park after a tense Premiership battle.

It was first blood to the home side when Tim Clancy found the net following a corner.

But Celtic looked to be coasting to victory after goals from Kris Commons, Teemu Pukki and Virgil van Dijk.

However, their opponents pulled off a magnificent comeback as Scott Brown and Michael O'Halloran both finished well to rescue a point for the Saints.

The draw means Neil Lennon's men now cannot hit the 100 points mark.

Tommy Wright's team got out of the starting blocks with gusto, and O'Halloran almost gave them an early lead with a volley that rattled the post of Lukasz Zaluska.

It was all Saints in the early exchanges, and they made their pressure count by taking the lead courtesy of a set-piece finish from Clancy.

After an inviting corner, the Irishman reacted quickest to Steven Anderson's knockdown and stabbed home past Zaluska.

Celtic's first real chance fell for Pukki, who stung the palms of Alan Mannus with a venomous long range shot.

Despite the best efforts of the visitors to break down the St Johnstone rear-guard, the Scottish Cup finalists stood strong.

They could have doubled their advantage when the in-form Stevie May - who has scored against every Premiership side except Celtic this season - picked up possession and had a go from distance, only to see his effort curl narrowly wide of the post.

With the clock ticking towards half-time, the Glasgow side almost found themselves going into the dressing room with a bigger hill to climb, as the Saints were given the chance to convert from the penalty spot after the busy O'Halloran was brought down in the box by Beram Kayal.

Teemu Pukki celebration
Teemu Pukki celebrates after making it 2-1

But Zaluska was the hero of the hour as he was equal to May's poor spot-kick, making an easy save down to his left.

Soon after, the hosts let another golden opportunity pass by when O'Halloran, after bursting through, skied a shot over the bar.

St Johnstone began the second period in the same bright fashion as they played the first.

But that work was undone when Celtic were awarded a penalty of their own, after captain Scott Brown was fouled by Gary McDonald.

Kris Commons made the task of levelling the match look easy, as he hammered his kick straight down the middle, giving Mannus no chance.

The champions had the bit between their teeth and began to come into the ascendancy, with Pukki and Commons leading the charge for a second goal.

And it was Pukki who made it 2-1 after a precise assist from Charlie Mulgrew allowed the Finnish international to calmly slot home.

Wright's charges barely had time to draw breath before they conceded again.

It was the tenacious Brown who was at the heart of things, as he stormed down the line to fire in a delivery that eventually found its way to van Dijk, who converted with ease.

But Saints refused to roll over, and gave themselves a glimmer of hope when youngster Scott Brown scored his first goal in senior football with a strike that took a wicked deflection before evading Zaluska.

And the hosts bagged a leveller when the lively O'Halloran met David Wotherspoon's cross with a pin-point diving header and sent the home support wild.

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 19MillerSubstituted forWotherspoonat 59'minutes
  • 23Clancy
  • 20Brown
  • 6Anderson
  • 5Wright
  • 22CroftSubstituted forIwelumoat 78'minutes
  • 8McDonald
  • 17MaySubstituted forHasselbainkat 45'minutes
  • 4Cregg
  • 29O'Halloran

Substitutes

  • 7Millar
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 11Hasselbaink
  • 12Dunne
  • 15Banks
  • 25Iwelumo
  • 38Gilchrist

Celtic

  • 24Zaluska
  • 23Lustig
  • 21Mulgrew
  • 33Kayal
  • 4Ambrose
  • 5van Dijk
  • 2MatthewsSubstituted forBrownat 45'minutes
  • 25Johansen
  • 20PukkiBooked at 69mins
  • 17BaldeSubstituted forStokesat 88'minutes
  • 11BoerrigterSubstituted forCommonsat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Forster
  • 8Brown
  • 10Stokes
  • 15Commons
  • 22Mouyokolo
  • 28Griffiths
  • 53Henderson
Referee:
Steven McLean
Attendance:
4,624

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home43%
Away57%
Shots
Home12
Away12
Shots on Target
Home5
Away7
Corners
Home5
Away8
Fouls
Home9
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St Johnstone 3, Celtic 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St Johnstone 3, Celtic 3.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone).

  4. Post update

    Efe Ambrose (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

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

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Anthony Stokes replaces Amido Baldé.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Nigel Hasselbaink (St Johnstone).

  8. Post update

    Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! St Johnstone 3, Celtic 3. Michael O'Halloran (St Johnstone) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by David Wotherspoon with a cross.

  10. Goal!

    Goal! St Johnstone 2, Celtic 3. Scott Brown (St Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gary McDonald.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Patrick Cregg (St Johnstone).

  12. Post update

    Kris Commons (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Gary McDonald (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Beram Kayal (Celtic).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Teemu Pukki (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, St Johnstone. Chris Iwelumo replaces Lee Croft.

  17. Goal!

    Goal! St Johnstone 1, Celtic 3. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Steven Anderson (St Johnstone).

  19. Post update

    Amido Baldé (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  20. Post update

    Patrick Cregg (St Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.