Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic7St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0

Celtic 7-0 St Johnstone: Leaders nine points clear after crushing win

By Thomas DuncanBBC Scotland
Reo Hatate sweeps in Celtic's opener after just eight minutes
Reo Hatate swept in Celtic's opener after just eight minutes and set the tone

Celtic are "not going to let go" of their Scottish Premiership lead after demolishing St Johnstone to move nine points clear, says manager Ange Postecoglou.

Reo Hatate, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda put the leaders in total control at the break.

Josip Juranovic, Matt O'Riley's double, and Liel Abada completed the biggest win of Postecoglou's tenure.

The victory puts the pressure on Rangers, who face St Mirren on Sunday.

"If anyone watched our training session yesterday they would have seen there's definitely no complacency," the Celtic boss told BBC Scotland.

"I've just got to hold them back a bit so we don't go too hard in training.

"They want this, they can taste it. The players want to create something special for themselves and they're not going to let it go now."

Meanwhile, St Johnstone stay 11th having had their advantage over bottom club Dundee cut to five points.

Celtic took a big step towards reclaiming the league crown with victory at Ibrox last week, but Postecoglou dismissed any notion his side would let their guard down in the final six games.

Every aspect of their performance showed he was right as they set a ferocious tempo from the start.

Hatate was denied brilliantly by Zander Clark just a minute before firing in the first goal from Greg Taylor's cutback, and the chances kept coming as Tom Rogic shot straight at the St Johnstone goalkeeper from seven yards out.

But it wasn't too long before Callum Booth gifted Celtic a second goal by passing straight to Giakoumakis, who rounded Clark and squeezed the ball in from close range.

Unfortunately for Celtic, the Greek striker limped off with a muscle injury minutes later but his absence did not check their momentum as Jota whipped in a fantastic cross for Maeda to nod in a third before half-time.

Despite making a double change at the interval St Johnstone were powerless to resist Celtic, and one of the replacements, Tom Sang, bundled over Hatate to give away a penalty just five minutes into the second half.

Juranovic converted with confidence to make it 4-0, and after a 19-minute lull, Celtic struck three goals in eight minutes to pile the misery on their toiling visitors.

Half-time replacement O'Riley headed in David Turnbull's cross then curled a beautiful shot into the top corner three minutes later.

And Abada thumped in Celtic's seventh after Maeda latched on to a pass over the top and touched the ball into his path.

The league leaders could have easily hit double figures as they racked up 23 shots and attempted over 950 passes in an emphatic message about their title intentions.

Man of the match - Reo Hatate

Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate
It could easily have been Matt O'Riley for his brilliant performance from the bench, but Reo Hatate was outstanding in everything he did before being withdrawn after the break

What did we learn?

It is hard to overstate just how dominant Celtic were. Nearly 1000 passes, countless good chances to win by more, and just one shot for St Johnstone all match. It was the type of performance which sets the tone for the run-in.

During the week Postecoglou emphasised he had a full squad desperate to play their part with no complacency allowed to set in after their derby win, and his players proved him right.

O'Riley was outstanding off the bench and could have had a hat-trick while Abada was also terrific after coming on for Giakoumakis. David Turnbull got an assist, and Kyogo Furuhashi made his first appearance since Boxing Day. Every single player contributed.

On this performance, the league title is only heading in one direction.

As for St Johnstone, this is the kind of hammering that could seriously affect confidence over the final five games. Plenty of teams take heavy defeats to the Glasgow giants but they could not lay the merest of touches on Celtic.

They're five points clear of the automatic relegation spot but six adrift of guaranteed safety. Davidson will need to get his players together to quickly shake off this performance as they prepare to scrap with the teams around them after the split.

What they said

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: "I think the scoreline reflected our dominance. We knew it was a dangerous game - they have been in good form. It was important we started well.

"Like a lot of our games at home, we got on top early, but what was pleasing today was we finished off our work in the second half and made it a convincing performance for the whole 95 minutes."

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "It's never nice to suffer that kind of scoreline, but Celtic were relentless for 90 minutes. It's a very hard place to come and get any points, so we've got to look beyond this to the next five games. It is a huge five games for the club to stay in this league.

What's next?

The Scottish Cup takes centre stage next week as Celtic play their semi-final against Rangers at Hampden on Sunday (14:00 BST), while St Johnstone await the announcement of the post-split fixtures.

Player of the match

MaedaDaizen Maeda

with an average of 9.03

Celtic

  1. Squad number38Player nameMaeda
    Average rating

    9.03

  2. Squad number33Player nameO'Riley
    Average rating

    8.93

  3. Squad number41Player nameHatate
    Average rating

    8.78

  4. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating

    8.71

  5. Squad number17Player nameJota
    Average rating

    8.66

  6. Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers
    Average rating

    8.60

  7. Squad number7Player nameGiakoumakis
    Average rating

    8.57

  8. Squad number11Player nameAbada
    Average rating

    8.56

  9. Squad number3Player nameTaylor
    Average rating

    8.55

  10. Squad number4Player nameStarfelt
    Average rating

    8.54

  11. Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi
    Average rating

    8.49

  12. Squad number18Player nameRogic
    Average rating

    8.48

  13. Squad number88Player nameJuranovic
    Average rating

    8.48

  14. Squad number15Player nameHart
    Average rating

    8.28

  15. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull
    Average rating

    8.28

  16. Squad number16Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating

    7.79

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number1Player nameClark
    Average rating

    4.27

  2. Squad number14Player nameMiddleton
    Average rating

    3.88

  3. Squad number22Player nameHendry
    Average rating

    3.81

  4. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating

    3.80

  5. Squad number2Player nameBrown
    Average rating

    3.76

  6. Squad number8Player nameDavidson
    Average rating

    3.75

  7. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating

    3.72

  8. Squad number18Player nameMacPherson
    Average rating

    3.69

  9. Squad number21Player nameCrawford
    Average rating

    3.67

  10. Squad number29Player nameHallberg
    Average rating

    3.52

  11. Squad number19Player nameRooney
    Average rating

    3.52

  12. Squad number24Player nameBooth
    Average rating

    3.33

  13. Squad number7Player nameMay
    Average rating

    3.01

  14. Squad number27Player nameSang
    Average rating

    2.90

  15. Squad number17Player nameBair
    Average rating

    2.79

  16. Squad number34Player nameButterfield
    Average rating

    2.77

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-3-3

  • 15Hart
  • 88Juranovic
  • 20Carter-Vickers
  • 4Starfelt
  • 3Taylor
  • 18RogicSubstituted forO'Rileyat 45'minutes
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forMcCarthyat 74'minutes
  • 41HatateSubstituted forTurnbullat 55'minutesSubstituted forat 90+2'minutes
  • 17Neves FilipeSubstituted forFuruhashiat 74'minutes
  • 7GiakoumakisSubstituted forAbadaat 27'minutes
  • 38Maeda

Substitutes

  • 6Bitton
  • 8Furuhashi
  • 11Abada
  • 14Turnbull
  • 16McCarthy
  • 21Ideguchi
  • 29Bain
  • 33O'Riley
  • 56Ralston

St Johnstone

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Clark
  • 19RooneySubstituted forSangat 45'minutes
  • 2Brown
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 24Booth
  • 8DavidsonSubstituted forMacPhersonat 45'minutes
  • 29HallbergSubstituted forButterfieldat 77'minutes
  • 14MiddletonSubstituted forMayat 64'minutes
  • 21Crawford
  • 22HendrySubstituted forBairat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Cleary
  • 7May
  • 12Parish
  • 15Gilmour
  • 16Mahon
  • 17Bair
  • 18MacPherson
  • 27Sang
  • 34Butterfield
Referee:
Andrew Dallas
Attendance:
58,321

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamSt Johnstone
Possession
Home84%
Away16%
Shots
Home23
Away1
Shots on Target
Home10
Away0
Corners
Home7
Away2
Fouls
Home3
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 7, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 7, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Post update

    David Turnbull went off injured after Celtic had used all subs.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Liel Abada (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Matt O'Riley with a through ball.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Liam Gordon.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Matt O'Riley (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by David Turnbull.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by James Brown.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Liel Abada (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Daizen Maeda.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Kyogo Furuhashi (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Liel Abada.

  10. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 7, St. Johnstone 0. Liel Abada (Celtic) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Daizen Maeda.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Jacob Butterfield replaces Melker Hallberg.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. James McCarthy replaces Callum McGregor.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Kyogo Furuhashi replaces Jota.

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 6, St. Johnstone 0. Matt O'Riley (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Josip Juranovic.

  15. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 5, St. Johnstone 0. Matt O'Riley (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by David Turnbull with a cross.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Matt O'Riley (Celtic) left footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jota.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Stevie May replaces Glenn Middleton.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Theo Bair replaces Callum Hendry.

  19. Post update

    Callum McGregor (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Alister Crawford (St. Johnstone).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic33264378195982
2Rangers32227363273673
3Hearts33169848331557
4Dundee Utd331011123137-641
5Ross County331010134552-740
6Motherwell331010133850-1240
7Hibernian33911133137-638
8Livingston33108153543-838
9Aberdeen3399153842-436
10St Mirren32812123046-1636
11St Johnstone3379172144-2330
12Dundee33510182957-2825
View full Scottish Premiership table

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