Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic3St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Celtic 3-1 St Johnstone

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Celtic's Charlie Mulgrew celebrates his goal
Charlie Mulgrew scored for Celtic

Celtic began the process of healing the wounds inflicted by Malmo with a professionally executed victory over St Johnstone.

The day threatened to go badly for Ronny Deila's team as they fell behind to an early Dedryck Boyata own goal.

But Leigh Griffiths soon had them level and Tom Rogic put them in front before the break.

Charlie Mulgrew replaced injured Celtic captain Scott Brown and wrapped up the points with the third goal.

The victory lifts the reigning champions a point above Hearts in the Scottish Premiership table after the Edinburgh side lost their 100% record with a defeat away to Hamilton Academical.

This was a test of Celtic's character, with the midweek Champions League exit fresh in the memory.

A supporters' banner pre-match read: "Gutless in Malmo, clueless in boardroom", so an air of dissatisfaction was certainly evident.

Questions had been raised about the strength of the team's mettle and that came into sharp focus as St Johnstone sent a shudder round the stadium with the opening goal.

Michael O'Halloran raced down the right and fired in a cross Emilio Izaguirre was unable to block.

Goalkeeper Craig Gordon allowed the ball to slip past him and off the unsuspecting Boyata before trundling into the net.

Celtic's Scott Brown writhes in pain
Celtic captain Scott Brown went off injured and will be a worry for Scotland

As Celtic passes again went astray, rumblings of discontent could be heard, but only until Griffiths got in on the act.

Moments after watching Tam Scobbie volley his header off the line, the striker fired a ferocious shot from the edge of the box that deflected off Scobbie and was too powerful for Alan Mannus to keep out.

The game was a good, even contest, but Celtic edged in front just before the break, with Rogic robbing Murray Davidson of possession on the goal-line and easily skipping past Dave Mackay before rifling past the goalkeeper.

Celtic lost captain Brown to injury midway through the second half - a concern for Scotland manager Gordon Strachan before next weekend's Euro 2016 qualifier - but his replacement Mulgrew extended Celtic's advantage.

Mannus saved superbly from an outstanding Kris Commons effort with the outside of his left foot, but from the resultant corner, Virgil van Dijk headed down and Mulgrew nodded over the line.

St Johnstone were always competitive but barely threatened Gordon's goal in the second half, save for a close-range shot off the top of the bar by substitute John Sutton.

However, in the closing moments, the keeper showed his brilliance, first pushing away a free kick from Liam Craig and then producing a phenomenal double-save from O'Halloran and Sutton to ensure no late concerns for the home support.

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 22Janko
  • 20Boyata
  • 5van Dijk
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 6BittonSubstituted forMcGregorat 87'minutes
  • 8BrownSubstituted forMulgrewat 59'minutes
  • 15CommonsSubstituted forAllanat 77'minutes
  • 18Rogic
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 9Griffiths

Substitutes

  • 4Ambrose
  • 10Stokes
  • 19Allan
  • 21Mulgrew
  • 26Bailly
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest

St Johnstone

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Mannus
  • 14Shaughnessy
  • 2Mackay
  • 3Scobbie
  • 24Easton
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 7Millar
  • 8DavidsonSubstituted forCraigat 45'minutes
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 18CumminsSubstituted forKaneat 81'minutes
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forSuttonat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Lappin
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 15McKay
  • 16Caddis
  • 25Kane
  • 26Craig
Referee:
John Beaton
Attendance:
42,507

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home62%
Away38%
Shots
Home23
Away6
Shots on Target
Home8
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away9
Fouls
Home16
Away9

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 3, St. Johnstone 1.

  2. Full Time

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

  3. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by David Mackay.

  4. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  6. Post update

    Attempt saved. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Craig Gordon.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Celtic).

  12. Post update

    Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Allan (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Scott Allan (Celtic) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

  16. Post update

    Christopher Kane (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Charlie Mulgrew (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Callum McGregor replaces Nir Bitton.

  19. Post update

    Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by David Mackay (St. Johnstone).