St Johnstone 2-1 Celtic: Title party will be bitter-sweet for Collins

By Scott DavieBBC Scotland at McDiarmid Park
Logan Bailly (centre) berates his defence as Celtic lose to St Johnstone
Logan Bailly (centre) berates his defence as Celtic lose to St Johnstone

Celtic assistant manager John Collins admits Sunday's title celebrations will be a bitter-sweet occasion as he and Ronny Deila bid farewell to the club.

The game at home to Motherwell brings the curtain down on their era in charge, securing five titles in a row.

A 2-1 defeat to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park was their fourth in the Premiership this season.

"I'm looking forward very much to trophy day on Sunday," Collins told BBC Scotland.

"These are special days but it will be mixed emotions for me as it will be the last game for the manager and me.

"It will be sad walking out for the last time but we have had a good couple of years there so it's someone else's opportunity now.

"But if the right opportunity comes up I will go back into football. I love football."

Leigh Griffiths scored his 40th goal of the season but the sort of defensive blunders that have plagued Celtic all season cost them the points.

Mistakes by Stefan Johansen and a collision between regular culprit Efe Ambrose and stand-in keeper Logan Bailly allowed Steven MacLean and Graham Cummins to pounce.

Collins added: "The two goals we lost were disappointing but that's football. We made a lot of changes with the league won and we needed to give players game time.

"It is tough to get going under those circumstances but the second half was a lot better and we scored a wonderful goal through Leigh Griffiths again.

"He is an absolute goal machine who is a constant threat and he has had a wonderful season for the club so let's hope he goes on from strength to strength next season for Celtic.

"We were controlling things but all credit to St Johnstone as they defended very well and they fought for everything."

St Johnstone's Graham Cummins (2nd from left) celebrates his goal
St Johnstone's Graham Cummins (2nd from left) scores the winner

St Johnstone's first win in eight against Celtic clinched a fourth place finish for the second successive season, after a strong end to a campaign that started in early July.

The financial boost that will give the squad is important for Tommy Wright's plans going forward, but making it four wins post split was equally pleasing for the Perth club's manager

Wright said: "It's very important that we clinched fourth place because it helps with budgets and helps the chairman plan for the future.

"That should help us get in more quality which we'll need because the league will be tougher again next season.

"We did well after the split last year but we have done even better this time with four wins on the spin against very good sides.

"To beat Aberdeen, Motherwell, Ross County and now the champions then it is job done from that respect.

"We have secured fourth place and if we can win at Tynecastle then it would give us the most top flight away wins we have ever had.

"I think we have done all right in terms of performances against Celtic but it was good to get the win this time.

"The players showed how much they wanted to win the game and there was no tiredness despite this being a long season for the players."

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