Scottish Premiership
Celtic0St Johnstone1

Celtic 0-1 St Johnstone

  • Danny Swanson strike wins game for St Johnstone
  • Tommy Wright's men move above Dundee into top six
  • Defeat ends Celtic's 11-game unbeaten domestic run
  • Lead at top of Scottish Premiership remains at six points

Celtic's seemingly inexorable march towards the Scottish Premiership title suffered a setback thanks to a stunning Danny Swanson volley.

It inflicted a first league defeat in nine games on Celtic, although they are still six points clear of Aberdeen.

Swanson's sweet 25-yard strike in the second half moved St Johnstone back into the top six.

The visitors are now level on points with Hamilton having leapfrogged Dundee with this rare victory at Celtic Park.

Celtic started quickly, with a slickness to their play that was illustrated by a sweeping crossfield pass over the St Johnstone defence that set Gary Mackay-Steven free.

The winger's cross reached Scott Brown, who shaped to shoot but instead slipped the ball infield to Stuart Armstrong, whose shot was blocked by the St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus.

Moments later, Anthony Stokes curled a shot across the face of goal that went wide.

Then Mackay-Steven sent a dipping, curling shot on target that Mannus had to claw out of the air before repelling Stokes' unorthodox effort from an awkward height and angle.

The antidote to Celtic's endeavour was doughtiness by St Johnstone, who have the third best defensive record in the Premiership and organised themselves superbly.

Individual cameos from visiting players included Chris Millar's endless industry and shrewd passing while Brian Easton often intercepted the ball in dangerous areas and was adept at carrying it upfield.

Steven MacLean was always strong up front, Murray Davidson covered the pitch with his rangy stride, while David Wotherspoon's set-pieces were delivered with menacing intent.

Ronny Deila had led his team to 11 domestic games unbeaten before the St Johnstone game.
Ronny Deila had led his team to 11 domestic games unbeaten before the St Johnstone game

Following a period of sustained pressure in the Celtic half, Wotherspoon struck an effort from the edge of the area, but it was straight at Craig Gordon.

The zest of Celtic's play was dampened by St Johnstone's sturdiness and the home side were restricted to long-range efforts, with Stuart Armstrong twice having efforts draw good saves from Mannus.

Celtic found a higher gear in the second half of their previous two league games - scoring four against Hamilton and three against Aberdeen after the break - but St Johnstone remained solid.

They survived Mackay-Steven mis-hitting a volley from Wakaso Mubarak's cross and then they set about imposing themselves.

There was almost a breakthrough when Davidson stretched to head the ball on target from a corner, but it was deflected over.

Celtic did not heed the warning, though, and moments later Swanson lashed a glorious volley high into the top corner.

If Steven Anderson had been similarly adept, he would have increased the advantage when he was left unmarked at the back post at a corner, but his half-volley skewed wide into the side-netting.

Urgency returned to Celtic's play and even before Virgil van Dijk moved up to centre-forward, Nir Bitton and Armstrong both hit the target from long range but could not beat Mannus.

Jackie McNamara, watching from the main stand, would have seen plenty to dwell on as he prepares his Dundee United side to meet Celtic in three consecutive games - the Scottish Cup, the League Cup final and then in the Premiership.

Anthony Stokes went close for Celtic in the first half
Anthony Stokes (far right) went close for Celtic in the first half
Goalscorer Danny Swanson (left) and Celtic captain Scott Brown clash.
Goalscorer Danny Swanson (left) and Celtic captain Scott Brown clash
Craig Gordon at full stretch could not get close to Danny Swanson's shot
Craig Gordon at full stretch could not get close to Swanson's shot
Craig Gordon conceded in the league for the first time since McDairmid Park last month
Gordon conceded in the league for the first time since McDiarmid Park last month

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 26Gordon
  • 2MatthewsSubstituted forWakasoat 45'minutes
  • 22Denayer
  • 5van Dijk
  • 4Ambrose
  • 14ArmstrongBooked at 77mins
  • 8Brown
  • 16Mackay-StevenSubstituted forForrestat 59'minutes
  • 25Johansen
  • 10StokesSubstituted forBittonat 59'minutes
  • 28Griffiths

Substitutes

  • 6Bitton
  • 12Scepovic
  • 24Zaluska
  • 32Wakaso
  • 41Fisher
  • 49Forrest
  • 53Henderson

St Johnstone

  • 1Mannus
  • 2Mackay
  • 24Easton
  • 6AndersonBooked at 61mins
  • 3Scobbie
  • 7Millar
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 18Davidson
  • 29O'HalloranSubstituted forMillerat 77'minutes
  • 11SwansonBooked at 23minsSubstituted forCroftat 70'minutes
  • 9MacLean

Substitutes

  • 14Graham
  • 15Banks
  • 17McFadden
  • 19Miller
  • 20Brown
  • 22Croft
  • 25Kane
Referee:
Calum Murray
Attendance:
41,849

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home13
Away6
Shots on Target
Home7
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 0, St. Johnstone 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 0, St. Johnstone 1.

Foul by Jason Denayer (Celtic).

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

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Celtic).

Lee Croft (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mubarak Wakaso (Celtic).

Lee Croft (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) header from very close range misses to the left.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Tam Scobbie.

Attempt blocked. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Chris Millar (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

Attempt saved. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Gary Miller replaces Michael O'Halloran.

Booking

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Celtic).

Lee Croft (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Efe Ambrose (Celtic) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Brian Easton.

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

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

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Tam Scobbie.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by David Mackay.

Hand ball by Mubarak Wakaso (Celtic).

Substitution

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Lee Croft replaces Danny Swanson.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Efe Ambrose.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Murray Davidson.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Steven Anderson.

Attempt missed. Mubarak Wakaso (Celtic) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is high and wide to the right.

Booking

Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

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

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Anthony Stokes.

Substitution

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

Attempt missed. Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the left.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Jason Denayer.

Attempt saved. Anthony Stokes (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 0, St. Johnstone 1. Danny Swanson (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic27203456144263
2Aberdeen27183647252257
3Inverness CT28165742291353
4Dundee Utd27144949381146
5Hamilton29125123940-141
6St Johnstone28125112527-241
7Dundee2810993939039
8Kilmarnock2797112935-634
9Partick Thistle2777133535028
10Ross County2756162852-2421
11St Mirren2863192246-2421
12Motherwell2763182051-3121
View full Scottish Premiership table

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