Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0CelticCeltic4

St Johnstone 0-4 Celtic

By Chris McLaughlinBBC Scotland at McDiarmid Park

Celtic broke their own 100-year-old British record of 62 domestic games without defeat with a convincing win over dogged but toothless St Johnstone.

Brendan Rodgers' side dominated possession before Scott Sinclair side-footed home Stuart Armstrong's low corner just before the half hour.

It was one-way traffic thereafter in Perth and Moussa Dembele fired in from close range with 18 minutes remaining.

Steven Anderson's own goal and Olivier Ntcham's strike completed a famous day.

St Johnstone, who started the day sixth in the table, were the last Scottish team to defeat the Premiership leaders and drew 1-1 in their most recent meeting.

But Tommy Wright's injury-hit side went into this encounter without a goal in a run of five games without a win and against a team who had only conceded six times in their opening 11 league matches this season - their best start to a season since 2003-04.

The Perth side had been unable to muster a win in five meetings with Celtic since that 2016 win at McDiarmid Park, losing four in a row until that August draw in Glasgow, and never looked like denying Rodgers' side another significant milestone.

You get the feeling the weight of history sits fairly comfortably on the shoulders of the Celtic players.

Celtic celebrate their new record
Celtic broke the record established by Willy Maley's 1917 side

After becoming treble-winning invincibles last year, the domestic unbeaten run record was simply another step in their quest to steamroller mercilessly over the rest of Scottish football.

Rodgers was taking no chances though and named the same 11 who had impressed in the midweek Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.

In stark contrast, they were facing a St Johnstone side who had failed to find the net since the end of September - it was a fixture that screamed away win.

Celtic took control as expected, but despite early waves of attack in the Perthshire sunshine, the home side stood firm.

Dembele and Sinclair linked up well inside the box and looked dangerous, but Celtic were giving the Saints the odd sniff in the form of some central-defensive mix-ups.

Celtic's patience this year has been every bit as deadly as their high press. They push and probe and bide their time, knowing the chances will come.

Armstrong fired in a low corner from the right-hand side and Sinclair was deadly from five yards out, sweeping the ball past goalkeeper Zander Clark to secure the lead.

It was the cue for the travelling support to start their party and, as the fans increased the noise levels, the Celtic players responded and upped the tempo.

Celtic's Olivier Ntcham scored the fourth goal
Olivier Ntcham scored Celtic's fourth goal in Perth

In the late autumn sunshine, St Johnstone were left chasing shadows.

So it continued into the second half and Aaron Comrie was forced to header off the line and on to the bar from a Dedryck Boyata header.

In the rare St Johnstone forays forward, they lacked belief and conviction and a Celtic back line, which at times looked a little shaky, was rarely threatened.

The new record was in the bag midway through the second half when the green and white machine once again breached the wall of blue.

Armstrong powered down the left-hand side and his cross was delicately clipped in from close range by Dembele.

The celebrations were barely over when Anderson turned the ball into his own net to compound the home side's misery.

It was exhibition stuff for the league leaders after that as they toyed with and tormented St Johnstone with slick one-touch football that was a joy to watch.

When substitute Ntcham drilled in number four at the end of another fabulous passage of play, a century-old record was smashed.

At the end, they took their bow in front of the thousands who had come to watch history. Sixty three and counting.


St Johnstone

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 12Clark
  • 14Comrie
  • 5Shaughnessy
  • 6Anderson
  • 3Tanser
  • 19FosterSubstituted forMcCleanat 76'minutes
  • 18PatonBooked at 55mins
  • 4Alston
  • 21ScougallSubstituted forO'Halloranat 58'minutes
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 65minsSubstituted forCraigat 68'minutes
  • 9MacLean


  • 1Mannus
  • 11O'Halloran
  • 17Johnstone
  • 20McClean
  • 23Gordon
  • 26Craig
  • 29Cummins


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 6Bitton
  • 20Boyata
  • 63Tierney
  • 8Brown
  • 14S ArmstrongSubstituted forNtchamat 76'minutes
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forHayesat 77'minutes
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forRogicat 60'minutes
  • 11Sinclair
  • 10Dembele


  • 12Gamboa
  • 15Hayes
  • 18Rogic
  • 21Ntcham
  • 22Edouard
  • 24de Vries
  • 35Ajer
Bobby Madden

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamCeltic
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 4.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 4.

  3. Goal!

    Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 4. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott Sinclair.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Nir Bitton.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

  7. Post update

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

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

  9. Post update

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

  10. Post update

    Foul by Paul Paton (St. Johnstone).

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Jonny Hayes replaces James Forrest.

  12. Post update

    James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Kyle McClean replaces Richard Foster.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham replaces Stuart Armstrong.

  16. Goal!

    Own Goal by Steven Anderson, St. Johnstone. St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 3.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  18. Goal!

    Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 2. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Stuart Armstrong with a cross.

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.