Thanks for your company today on what turned out to be an exciting day of action in the Scottish Premiership. Joins us again tomorrow, when second-top Aberdeen travel to face a struggling Hamilton Accies. If you want to quench your thirst for more Scottish football, you can turn to BBC Alba right now as Airdrieonians host Forfar Athletic in League Two live on the old telly.
- FT: Ross County 3-2 Motherwell (Woods, Quinn, De Vita; Grant, Kerr) S
- FT: St Mirren 1-2 ICT (Goodwin; Tansey, Christie)
- FT: Dundee 1-0 Thistle (McGowan), Killie 3-2 Dundee Utd (Maggenis, Johnston, Clingan; Ciftci, pen, Anier)
- FT: St Johnstone 1-2 Celtic (O'Halloran; Griffiths, Johansen)
"We were totally dominant on the football.
"You are a wee bit apprehensive at half time, but to get the second goal, you think game won.
"But we stopped playing after the second goal and I was a little disappointed in our second-half performance."
"I was delighted with the way they played in the second half. The heads could have gone down.
"It was a goal fit to win any game. I was kicking myself as I had Eremenko sitting beside me, but Sammy Clingan has that in his locker and it was a great free-kick.
"It wasn't a great way to start my time in charge, but the players showed tremendous character.
"That was the way we started the season. We played with a lot of energy."
If results work out, Hearts could have a chance of clinching the Championship title and promotion on 5 April against Rangers at Ibrox. However, head coach Robbie Neilson has just admitted on BBC Radio Scotland that nerves are showing at the moment as that finishing line gets closer.
At the bottom of the Championship, Cowdenbeath's win at Dumbarton takes them three points clear of ninth-placed Alloa Athletic, with Livingston another three points adrift after their two rivals lost.
In the Championship, Hearts' 1-0 victory extends their lead over neighbours Hibernian to 20 points.
Dumbarton 1-2 Cowdenbeath
Hearts 1-0 Livingston
Queen of the South 1-0 Alloa Athletic
Raith Rovers 2-2 Falkirk
Scottish League One
Brechin City 1-1Greenock Morton
Dunfermline Athletic 3-2 Stenhousemuir
Stirling Albion 1-4 Ayr United
Stranraer 2-0 Peterhead
Scottish League Two
Albion Rovers 0-2 Clyde
Annan Athletic 2-0 Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers 3-1 Arbroath
East Stirlingshire 1-0 Elgin City
Montrose 0-3 East Fife
"If I am a Motherwell fan, I would be panicking today. Going from such a high under Stuart McCall last season, they got an initial bounce from new manager Ian Baraclough, but where is their next win coming from?"
With that victory, Ross County have moved to within three points of Motherwell and St Mirren. We now have a real battle in prospect for that bottom, automatic relegation place and the play-off spot for whoever finishes 11th.
"We felt we had to change the system and have a real go.
"We started with two strikers and they caused Motherwell all kinds of problems.
"It is a very important result, and its great to draw Motherwell closer to us, but we've got to carry that on.
"We know exactly what we have to do and how tough it is going to be, but performances like that will go a long way."
Dundee's late winner against Partick Thistle means the Dens Park outfit leapfrog St Johnstone into sixth place. Kilmarnock also secured the three points late on to stay within four points of Dundee as the battle for a top-six finish hots up.
Dundee United's late defeat in Kilmarnock means they slip six points adrift of third-top Inverness, although they do have a game in hand over Caley Thistle. European qualification via the Premiership moved a little further out of reach for United today.
Inverness Caley Thistle survived a late scare to consign St Mirren to a club record 15th game without a home win and move level with second-top Aberdeen.
In the absence of the substituted Alexei Eremenko, Sammy Clingan curls a delightful free-kick into the net to surely claim a dramatic win for Kilmarnock.
Marc McAusland heads just wide of the Inverness goal following a set piece. Was that St Mirren's last chance for parity?
Gary Harkins sets up what looks like being Dundee's winner as he weaves his way into the box before rolling the ball into the path of fellow summer signing Paul McGowan to fire the home side ahead.
At Rugby Park, Dundee United look like a side that have lost their main two creative forces and substitute Nathan Eccleston has a chance of a dream Kilmarnock debut, but the former Partick Thistle striker, who signed this morning, blasts over from the edge of the penalty box.
Ross County have weathered the storm a bit and look like holding out for a vital win over Motherwell.
Jim Goodwin seeks to add to his and St Mirren's tally with a free-kick. It's well struck but wide.
We haven't heard much from Dens Park, but reporter Scott Davie is saying it has been an appalling second half.
Josh Magennis flashes another opportunity wide in front of goal. Kilmarnock cannot afford to keep spurning these chances if they want to make the top six.
Fraser Kerr reignites Motherwell's challenge in Dingwall as the defender rises to head home a Conor Grant corner.
Ivan Hamilton @IvanHamilton12: "Massive game tomorrow hoping the Dons can win at Hamilton."
Jim Goodwin powerfully meets a corner from the right with a header to reduce St Mirren's deficit.
That's Ross County well on their way to reducing the gap between themselves and Motherwell at the bottom of the table to three points. Ian Baraclough took over after Stuart McCall's departure a couple of months ago suggesting that their aim should be winning the league. At this rate, the title they will be chasing is the Championship next season.
Debutant Raffaele de Vita extends the Ross County lead with a rasping left-foot drive from Michael Gardyne cross.
Ryan Christie finishes off a sweeping move with a well taken finish on the right to double the Inverness lead.
Raffaele de Vita floats in a free-kick and Paul Quinn sends a powerful looping header over the goalkeeper into the net.
It's all one-way traffic at Rugby Park and it's coming from the home side. After Josh Magennis fires over, Tope Obadeyi is inches away with connecting as the ball flashes across goal.
Nice effort from Inverness midfielder Ryan Christie, who swivels well around 20 yards out and curls a shot not far wide of Mark Ridgers' goal.
Conor Grant puts Motherwell level as the on-loan January signing from Everton curls in a free-kick.
Craig Johnston equalises with something that could barely be called a shot. The youngster appears to slip but pokes it forward, Goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak is obviously expecting something more forceful and he dives past the ball and it slips over the line.
Josh Magennus has one goal today, but he could have had a hat-trick. This time, the Kilmarnock forward bullets a close-range header straight at goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak.
Jackson Irvine heads over as County almost stretch their lead early in the second half.
Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox has gone off at half time after that first-half injury, with Paul Gallacher coming on.
Dumbarton 1-0 Cowdenbeath
Hearts 1-0 Livingston
Queen of the South 0-0 Alloa Athletic
Raith Rovers 0-1 Falkirk
Scottish League One
Brechin City 0-0 Greenock Morton
Dunfermline Athletic 1-2 Stenhousemuir
Stirling Albion 0-2 Ayr United
Stranraer 1-0 Peterhead
Scottish League Two
Albion Rovers 0-1 Clyde
Annan Athletic 0-0 Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers 0-0 Arbroath
East Stirlingshire 0-0 Elgin City
Montrose 0-1 East Fife
Greg Tansey's early strike gives Inverness the edge at the interval. The visitors have been by far the better side so far and St Mirren need a big change in approach in the second half.
The Premiership's only goal-less game so far is at Dens Park.
Most goals so far have been at Rugby Park an early Nadir Ciftci penalty was cancelled out by Josh Magennis before Henri Anier put United ahead again.
Fraser Kerr's tame header goes straight at Ross County goalkeeper Mark Brown to bring the first half to a close. Martin Woods' volley separates the sides at the break.
The only goalless draw in the top flight remains that way as Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox claws away a free-kick from Alex Harris. That is the first time Fox has been called into serious action by the home side.
Both teams are not looking as ruthless in front of goal as they were in the opening minutes. Chris Erskine fires wide for United before Josh Magennis' header bounces agonisingly across goal before being hastily cleared at the other end.
Thistle goalkeeper Scott Fox is struggling with an injury that is preventing him taking goal kicks, but it is Scott Bain in the Dundee goal who has been busier at Dens Park.
Gary Warren nods against the crossbar as Inverness threaten at a corner. St Mirren really are living dangerously.
A good old fashioned stramash in the penalty box, the proper kind. United have a number of shots and, at one point, a Kilmarnock defender nearly runs the ball into his own net, but eventually they clear and it remains 2-1.
Martin Woods volleys home from Raffaele de Vita's pass to put the bottom side ahead.
Steve Incles: "On Motherwell's new assistant manager, it's a fresh start. Shed load of experience in coaching and scouting between the gaffer and assistant - what we need - just hope it's the right pairing."
Derek Prentice: "Hopefully the new team will have a positive impact and we can start climbing up the league."
Dom Thomas comes in off the wing to fire a shot that Ross County goalkeeper Mark Brown has to hold before John Sutton pounces.
County go up the other end and both Liam Boyce and Scott Boyd force fine saves from Motherwell goallkeeper George Long.
Raffaele de Vita gets his head to a knock-on by Michael Gardyne, but Motherwell goalkeeper George Long makes a confident save.
Kilmarnock have refused to go into their shells after falling behind again. Chris Johnston has a shot deflected over before Tope Obadeyi puts a near-post header into the side netting.
Michael Gardyne and Raffaele de Vita try their best to get County going with an enterprising move, but goalkeeper George Long snuffs out the danger.
Inverness are in the mood today. Marley Watkins gets beyond the St Mirren defence in the inside left channel and flashes a low shot across the face of goal.
Gary Warren heads over the St Mirren crossbar from a corner. The visitors are still well on top.
It's raining goals at Rugby Park. Henri Anier gets his first goal for the club as the striker is put through one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Inverness playing with confidence in Paisley after an early goal and their recent good form. St Mirren are struggling to get a foot on the ball and that elusive first home league win seems some way off.
Dundee United fail to clear a free-kick into their penalty box and Josh Magennis slides in to wrong-foot goalkeeper Radoslaw Cierzniak and it rolls over the line.
Scrappy start to the match in Dingwall. No real pattern to the game. One wonders if news of that Inverness goal in Paisley has made it to Dingwall.
It's a storming start from the Terrors. Ryan Dow slips in behind the defence and almost chips it over Kilmarnock goalkeeper Craig Samson, who just manages to deflect it away.
Not the start St Mirren would have wanted as Greg Tansey converts Graeme Shinnie's pass to put the Highlanders in front.
John Rankin is bundled over in the box by Manuel Pascali after only two minutes at Rugby Park and Nadir Ciftci rolls the ball into the bottom left corner from the penalty spot.
We are off at most of the grounds, although they are a bit behind at St Mirren Park.
Ross County make four changes, with Mark Brown replacing Antonio Reguero in goal, Raffaele De Vita handed his debut in midfield while Michael Gardyne returns from injury to partner Craig Curran up front.
Motherwell make six changes, including a starting place for on-loan goalkeeper George Long. Stephen McManus and Keith Lasley return from injury, while Fraser Kerr comes into the starting line-up along with new signings Conor Grant, on-loan from Everton, and ex-Plymouth winger Nathan Thomas.
"I think the players work hard for 90 minutes and at 2-0 it seemed quite comfortable.
"But they scored a goal and were very aggressive and we had to defend well.
"It is all about winning and we did that today. You can't go every week looking comfortable.
"I think we produced a lot of chances. We played three days ago and some were a little bit tired."
Defender Sean Kelly is handed a place in St Mirren's starting line-up, with midfielder Stephen Mallan coming into midfield without Kenny McLean, sold to Aberdeen. Yoann Arquin returns from suspension to start up front, with Jeroen Tesselaar dropping to the bench, where he is joined by new loan signing Emmanuel Sonupe.
Inverness make just one change, with promising youngster Ryan Christie starting in place of the absent James Vincent.
Kilmarnock could give a debut to former Liverpool and Blackpool striker Nathan Eccleston, who is on the bench after impressing on trial after being released by Partick Thistle.
New Dundee United signing Robbie Muirhead also has to settle for a place on the bench against the club he left on transfer deadline day. But Paul Dixon makes his first appearance for the Terrors since returning to Tannadice from Huddersfield Town.
Ross County are looking for their first win since 8 November, a 3-0 win over Kilmarnock. In that time, they've picked up four points on the road but none at home. There have been seven goals in the two games between the pair this season, so there's a good chance of goals in Dingwall today.
Partick Thistle have not won away from home since thumping Inverness 4-0 in December.
Dundee are unbeaten in six league games. The last time they managed that in the top flight was 2003.
Dundee United are unbeaten in 2015, seven matches. Kilmarnock have only won once at home since they beat Jackie McNamara's side in October.
Inverness are enjoying their best form of the season. After two five-game unbeaten runs earlier in the campaign, they are now on a seven-game unbeaten streak.
If St Mirren fail to win this afternoon, they will set a new club record for the longest run without a home league win. They currently are without a league victory in Paisley in 14 matches.
St Mirren: Ridgers, Naismith, McAusland, Goodwin, Kelly, Osbourne, Mallan, McGinn, Dayton, Thompson, Arquin. Subs: Kello, Tesselaar, Sonupe, Reilly, McLear, Baird, Wylde
Inverness CT: Esson, Raven, Warren, Meekings, Shinnie, Ross, Draper, Tansey, Williams, Christie, Watkins. Subs: Mackay, Devine, Horner, Tremarco, Polworth, Sutherland, Ferguson
Ross County: Brown, Fraser, Irvine, Woods, De Vita, Boyce, Boyd, Gardyne, Quinn, Curran, Reckord. Subs: Reguero, Burgess, Sernas, Kiss, Cardle, MacLeod, Dingwall
Motherwell: Long, Reid, Ramsden, McManus, Sutton, Lasley, Erwin, Kerr, Straker, N.Thomas, Grant. Subs: Twardzik, Carswell, Ainsworth, Law, Moore, Johnson, Thomas
Dundee: Bain, Irvine, Konrad, McPake, McGowan, P. McGinn, McAlister, Harris, Gadzhaov, S. McGinn, Heffernan. Subs: Letheren, Clarkson, Harkins, Wighton, McBride, Black, Dyer.
Partick Thistle: Fox, O'Donnell, Booth, Balatoni, Bannigan, Frans, Elliott, Osman, Fraser, McDaid, Taylor. Subs: Gallacher, Craigen, Doolan, Stevenson, Lawless, Higginbotham, Richards-Everton.
Kilmarnock: Samson, Connolly, Clingan, Johnston, Obadeyi, Slater, Eremenko, Westlake, Chantler, Magennis, Pascali. Subs: Brennan, Barbour, Hamill, Cairney, Eccleston, O'Hara, Syme
Dundee United: Cierzniak, McGowan, Dillon, Morris, Dixon, Rankin, Telfer, Dow, Erskine, Ciftci, Anier. Subs: Szromnik, Spark, Spittal, Connolly, Paton, Butcher, Muirhead.
So Celtic survive late pressure from St Johnstone to record their eighth straight victory. It is the first they have conceded a goal in that run, but they will not be too worried about that as they extend their lead at the top of the Premiership to six points.
James McFadden's whipped and dipping free-kick is held on the line by former Scotland colleague Craig Gordon, who has had a busy few minutes.
Craig Gordon to Celtic's rescue - twice! From a corner, the goalkeeper parries Brian Graham's header one-handed and, when Dave Mackay volleys the rebound, Gordon's strong arm turns it over the crossbar.
St Johnstone have a free-kick just outside the penalty box and Celtic have everyone inside the box.
Saints survive a scare as Anthony Stokes sets up Liam Henderson in front of goal, but Brian Easton blocks and the ball spins just wide of the far post.
Ronny Deila has sent on defender Efe Ambrose for winger Gary Mackay-Steven. That is proof that the Celtic manager is concerned about an equaliser in the closing minutes.
St Johnstone have a free-kick 25 yards out, but defender Dave McKay's curling effort over the defensive wall does not have the power to trouble goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Celtic substitute Liam Henderson, who replaced Stuart Armstrong, shoots on the turn at the edge of the penalty box and his low drive just misses the near post.
Andrew: "All set for a grandstand finish now!"
MBEHAN @Mikeybhoy77: "So much goal threat in Celtic's midfield these days. How long until Johansen is linked with a move to England?"
St Johnstone have thrown on Brian Graham in place of tiring fellow striker Steven MacLean and they are starting to exert some pressure. Nervous times for the visitors.
Out of nowhere, St Johnstone are back in the game as Chris Kane stretches to turn a low Brian Easton cross to the front post towards goal, goalkeeper Craig Gordon can only block it with his knees and Michael O'Halloran pounces to steer in the loose ball.
The ball is bouncing around the St Johnstone penalty area as the home side struggle to clear their lines and a Virgil van Dijk volley canons off a home body to prevent the ball racing towards the Saints goal.
James McFadden comes on for Lee Croft just as the St Johnstone winger is booked for a pull on Stefan Johansen's shirt. It is probably too late for the veteran forward to inspire a comeback even if he still retained the magic in his boots that led to so many Scotland caps.
BBC Scotland at McDiarmid Park
"There doesn't look to be any way back into this match for the home side. They haven't troubled Craig Gordon's goal at all since going two behind and Celtic look extremely comfortable."
Leigh Griffiths is replaced with Anthony Stokes, which suggests that Celtic manager Ronny Deila is resting the Scotland striker for a start against Inter Milan on Thursday.
Scott Brown drives into the Saints penalty box, but his chipped shot on the stretch from 14 yards is straight at goalkeeper Alan Mannus.
Kevin Dawson @KevD63: "No chance of a way back for St Johnstone. They are pathetic."
Andrew Priestley @A_Priestley89: "Leigh Griffiths is under a bit of pressure at Celtic after the signings of Arnstrong and Mackay-Steven. He needs more goals." If either of them were also strikers, he would be under more pressure and he hasn't done his chances too much harm today!
Celtic are toying with St Johnstone at the moment, with a series of little flicks and dinks that eventually win a free-kick on the edge of the penalty box. Virgil van Dijk's low free-kick takes a nick off the defensive wall and out for a corner.
It is a long way back for Saints now as Leigh Griffiths heads on a chip into the penalty box from Stuart Armstrong and Stefan Johnson plays a bit of keepy-uppy as he holds off a couple of weak challenges before driving the ball past goalkeeper Alan Mannus from eight yards.
Midfielder Stefan Johansen is lucky to escape without a yellow card for a studs-first challenge on St Johnstone's Chris Millar.
Celtic, all in white with green flashes, kick off the second half and St Johnstone in their traditional blue, with neither side making any changes during the break.
It is 610 minutes in the Scottish Premiership and 790 minutes in all competitions since Celtic have conceded a goal. That is the immensity of St Johnstone's task if they are to come back for a draw never mind win at McDiarmid Park.
The last time Celtic lost after scoring first was 30 July, in the now infamous 4-1 defeat by Legia Warsaw.
The last time St Johnstone came from behind to win was 27 December, when they recorded a home win over Dundee United.
BBC Scotland at McDiarmid Park
"That was a very competitive first half, which looked unlikely when Leigh Griffiths scored inside the opening minute. St Johnstone have regrouped well, although Craig Gordon's clean-sheet record hasn't been particularly threatened. Ronny Deila will be keen to finish this game off as quickly as possible in the second half to allow him to rest a few legs ahead of the Inter Milan game on Thursday."
"Tommy Wright will be telling his players they let themselves down in the opening seconds but then praise them for what they have done since them. Ronny Deila will be happy, but he will be frustrated as Celtic haven't pounced on the chances and increased the lead."
Mike: "The new guys fitting in very well, not just with their goals but overall performances." Assume you are talking about Celtic's Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong there.
Celtic defender Jason Denayer flicks on from a corner, but it rises well above the St Johnstone crossbar.
Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk could have a problem as he beats the ground in frustration after a sliding challenge that halts Lee Croft as the winger dashes dangerously into the penalty box. The Dutchman limps away nursing a sore ankle.
"This is an important time for St Johnstone as they will want to make half-time without conceding another goal."
Kevin @Statto67: "Not Scottish, but best nickname in football 'one size' Fitz Hall! Brilliant." The former Crystal Palace, Wigan, QPR and Watford striker.
Ronnie Allan @allan_ronnie: "Celtic bought the league and cups. No point in watching anymore." Don't watch then, just read what we are saying here instead! ;-)
tom and 20 others @EdinburghTom: "Deila makes mental note 'That Griffiths only scores when i play him. Must look into what's going on there'." He certainly seems to be playing the striker more now.
Gary Mackay-Steven is filling the Kris Commons role just behind the striker with great aplomb and, after his first effort is blocked, the Celtic winger makes room for himself with a little shimmy before firing a powerful 20-yard drive that looks destined for the top corner before Alan Mannus leaps to turn it one-handed over the crossbar.
Another St Johnstone, another free header. This time Chris Kane will be disappointed not to have found the target at least after stooping unmarked to send the ball high over the crossbar from around the penalty spot.
BBC Scotland at McDiarmid Park
"St Johnstone's response to the loss of such an early goal has been a good one, albeit Celtic have had chances to increase their lead. But Tommy Wright's men are creating opportunities of their own and the introduction of Chris Kane for the injured Murray Davidson has actually helped the home side."
"It is the rotation of Celtic that St Johnstone have been finding it difficult to cope with - they don't know who to mark. Celtic look like they can up a gear at any time, but this is St Johnstone's best spell of the game."
Gordon Scott @gascott1903: "Best Scottish football nickname - Peter 'Silky' Heatherston." I was asking earlier for your own favourites. Thank you.
Steven Anderson rises to meet St Johnstone's first corner of the match. The central defender does well to find the target, but Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon nonchalantly picks it out of the sky.
MBEHAN @Mikeybhoy77: "What a start again from Celtic. Delighted for Leigh Griffiths as he has to wait a while to get a proper run in the team."
Ian - All Hand Made @CraftsIan: "Great to see some great Scots prospects getting the chance at a top club like the Bhoys."
Miguel Juans @MBReBorn: "Gulf in quality clear to see here."
St Johnstone goalkeeper Alan Mannus superbly palms over after Leigh Griffiths lets fly from the edge of the penalty box after being set up by Gary Mackay-Steven.
Leigh Griffiths has yet another chance as Stefan Johansen's disguised pass picks out the Celtic striker, but goalkeeper Alan Mannus blocks well at his feet.
St Johnstone will take encouragement from that as Michael O'Halloran intercepts then delivers a cross that is headed just wide of the far post by the flying Chris Kane.
Leigh Griffiths has a chance of a second goal as Virgil van Dijk climbs above Steven Anderson to meet a corner and his downward header comes off the striker's knee. However, it is straight at Saints goalkeeper Alan Mannus on the goal line.
Murray Davidson has had his troubles with injury and it is an unlucky 13th minute for the midfielder as he hobbles off with a calf injury to be replaced with striker Chris Kane. That means Steven MacLean dropping back into midfield.
St Johnstone at last threaten Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon, but Michael O'Halloran's stabbed effort from 12 yards is neither powerful nor wide enough to trouble the Scotland international.
BBC Scotland at McDiarmid Park
"Celtic are bursting with confidence in the early stages here, with the first-minute goal clearly easing any nerves they might have had. Stuart Armstrong has seen plenty of the ball and immediately looks comfortable in this Celtic team. The St Johnstone manager, Tommy Wright, and his assistant, Callum Davidson, are deep in consultation as to how to cope."
Jim Ewing: "Wow - 35 seconds and St Johnstone have folded already!" Still a long way to go, but they have made it tough for themselves!
Both Celtic goals in the past week are still slower than Kris Commons' goal against Aberdeen after 13 seconds in March 2013.
Another raking long ball, this time to the wing by Virgil van Dijk gives Adam Matthews the chance to set up Scott Brown, but the Celtic midfielder's effort is blocked and his attempt on the rebound flies wide.
Celtic are making a habit of fast starts and that Leigh Griffiths goal beat Gary Mackay-Steven's strike after 38 seconds against Partick Thistle in midweek by three seconds.
Dream start for Celtic, nightmare opening for Saints as Nir Bitton's long ball from his own half splits the centre of the home defence and Leigh Griffiths strokes the ball past goalkeeper Alan Mannus.
It is a bit dreich in Perth, so let's hope the game at McDiarmid Park can shed a bit of light on proceedings.
The teams are in the tunnel at McDiarmid Park as the anticipation builds in Perth.
"We feel good, we are in good shape, good confidence and just have to keep on.
"We want to play the best team all the time.
"Kris Commons has been out with injury and James is not 100% yet, which makes it a little bit of a smaller squad.
"We think we need speed on the pitch today and that's why we have gone with this team."
Celtic manager Ronny Deila has been explaining why, despite suggesting to the media that he could start to resemble Claudio Renieri while at Chelsea by being a bit of "Tinkerman" as he looks to rotate his squad for battling in four competitions, he has made only one change.
He also explained that they are treating James Forrest with kid gloves as he returns from yet another bout of the injuries that have blighted the Scotland winger's career to date.
"Celtic are on a great, incredible run and it is going to be a difficult task.
"But we think we can cause them problem and have Lee Croft and Michael O'Halloran with a bit of pace.
"But we need all our players to be on form to do anything.
"Any defeat is difficult, but the Cup is even worse as it has gone for another year and the dressing-room was quiet afterwards.
"But, come Monday, it was back to business and we can still have a successful season if we finish top six."
Celtic have also gone nine games without defeat against St Johnstone since the Saints won 2-1 in Perth in September 2012.
In contrast to the visitors, sixth-top St Johnstone are without a win in their last four outings, have only won one of their last seven games and were swept aside 3-0 by Celtic at McDiarmid Park in the only meeting of the sides this season back in August.
Celtic travel to McDiarmid Park looking to extend an eight-game unbeaten run - and seven straight victories - without conceding a goal that has taken them back to the top of the table above Aberdeen. A win in Perth would stretch their lead to six points before the Dons, who have played one game more, take on Hamilton Academical tomorrow.
January Celtic signing Stuart Armstrong was saying on this morning's newspapers that his new team-mates have dubbed himself and fellow midfielder Gary Mackay-Steven "Zig and Zag" because they arrived together from Dundee United on transfer deadline day. Got any favourite nicknames you have heard for footballers? (Please keep your suggestions clean). Give us your thoughts on that or anything else happing around the grounds and Scottish football today...
Tweet your suggestions or text on 80295 or comment on the BBC Sport Scotland Facebook page.
For St Johnstone, the loss of David Wotherspoon through suspension is compensated by the return of fellow midfielder Lee Croft from his ban, while Chris Millar and Steven MacLean are back from injury.
Indeed, manager Tommy Wright has rung the changes after the holders lost last weekend's Scottish Cup tie against Queen of the South, with new signing Danny Swanson, James McFadden and Chris Kane all dropping out, with forward Michael O'Halloran being the other new face in the starting line-up.
Striker Leigh Griffiths is back in Celtic's starting line-up in the only change after the midweek win over Partick Thistle, with goal-shy on-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti dropping to the bench.
It means that James Forrest does not make his expected return from injury and sits out again along with fellow midfielder Kris Commons, the versatile Charlie Mulgrew and defender Mikael Lustig.
St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Scobbie, Anderson, Easton, Lappin, Millar, Davidson, Croft, O'Halloran, MacLean. Subs: Banks, Wright, Graham, Caddis, McFadden, Miller, Kane.
Celtic: Gordon, Matthews, Izaguirre, van Dijk, Bitton, Brown, Armstrong, Mackay-Steven, Denayer, Johansen, Griffiths. Subs: Zaluska, Ambrose, Guidetti, Stokes, Scepovic, McGregor, Henderson.
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Later, the Premiership's bottom two, Ross County and Motherwell, meet in Dingwall, while Dundee host Partick Thistle, Dundee United travel to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock, while third-top Inverness Caledonian Thistle are in Paisley to take on St Mirren.
Welcome to our coverage of another action-packed Saturday in the Scottish Premiership, starting with the lunchtime kick-off in Perth as St Johnstone host leaders Celtic.