Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic3St JohnstoneSt Johnstone1

Celtic 3-1 St Johnstone

By Richard WilsonBBC Scotland at Celtic Park
Gary Mackay-Steven scores for Celtic against St Johnstone
Gary Mackay-Steven opened his account for the season with a brace

Celtic moved six points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with an assured victory over St Johnstone.

The defending champions were efficient as they took control with first-half goals from Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong.

St Johnstone briefly rallied, and tied the game at 1-1 when Steven MacLean equalised.

But they had no answer to Celtic's growing authority and Mackay-Steven netted again after the break.

Leaders too strong for Saints

St Johnstone's resistance lasted only nine minutes, though they may consider that a feat given how ruthlessly Celtic dispatched Hamilton 8-1 in midweek with three early goals.

Few defences have found the means to curtail Leigh Griffiths this season and, after his effort was blocked, Mackay-Steven darted through to drive past Alan Mannus.

The visitors from Perth did not allow their sprightliness to be subdued by the circumstances and Michael O'Halloran's pace could not be contained.

He may yet complete a move to Rangers but he was focused in Glasgow and skipped past Kieran Tierney to cross for MacLean to finish from close range.

Frustration might have set in for the home side but Armstrong was brilliantly accurate and composed as he swept a first-time volley into the net from Mikael Lustig's cross.

Another goal after the break finally quelled St Johnstone's spirit. Johansen's pass might have been aimed at Griffiths, but the ball fell perfectly into Mackay-Steven's stride for him to finish with cool aplomb.

Youngsters on form

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie
Ryan Christie made his Celtic debut in the second half

The display was sound from Celtic and scattered with the promise of their youthful attacking players.

Though over elaborate, Celtic dominated possession and Mackay-Steven, Griffiths and Callum McGregor all impressed in the final third, while debutant Ryan Christie replaced Armstrong late on.

The standout Celtic player was Tierney, though, who played with a depth of composure and awareness that sets him apart in defence and attack.

There were other half-chances, so that the scoreline might better have reflected Celtic's hold in the game, but also a clearance off his own goal-line from Johansen.

St Johnstone never lost heart, but the gap in quality could not be breached.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 4Ambrose
  • 5Simunovic
  • 63Tierney
  • 6Bitton
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forAllanat 79'minutes
  • 16Mackay-StevenSubstituted forForrestat 86'minutes
  • 25Johansen
  • 14S ArmstrongSubstituted forChristieat 88'minutes
  • 9Griffiths


  • 3Izaguirre
  • 7Ciftci
  • 17Christie
  • 19Allan
  • 20Boyata
  • 38Fasan
  • 49Forrest

St Johnstone

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Mannus
  • 14ShaughnessyBooked at 45mins
  • 6Anderson
  • 3Scobbie
  • 24Easton
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 45minsSubstituted forCaddisat 69'minutes
  • 4Lappin
  • 29O'Halloran
  • 18CumminsSubstituted forCraigat 45'minutes
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 9MacLeanSubstituted forSuttonat 65'minutes


  • 2Mackay
  • 11Sutton
  • 12Clark
  • 16Caddis
  • 25Kane
  • 26Craig
  • 27Thomson
Kevin Clancy

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamSt Johnstone
Shots on Target

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

    Foul by Ryan Christie (Celtic).

  4. Post update

    Liam Craig (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Ryan Christie replaces Stuart Armstrong.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.

  7. Substitution

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

  8. Post update

    Foul by Scott Allan (Celtic).

  9. Post update

    Joe Shaughnessy (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Scott Allan replaces Callum McGregor.

  13. Post update

    Attempt missed. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Jozo Simunovic (Celtic).

  16. Post update

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

  17. Post update

    Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

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