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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Celtic got their Scottish Premiership defence off to a winning start with a hard-fought victory over St Johnstone








Celtic got their Scottish Premiership defence off to a winning start with a hard-fought victory over St Johnstone.
Anthony Stokes opened the scoring with an easy finish after a defensive error by Steven Anderson.
A penalty from Nir Biton and strike by Callum McGregor were enough to ensure they took all three points.
Saints felt aggrieved when Dave Mackay was not awarded a penalty, with the skipper later sent off in the incident that led to Biton's spot-kick.
Mackay went down after a challenge by Virgil van Dijk in the box when the score was 1-0.
And, later, the right-back was dismissed for fouling Derk Boerrigter, though replays suggested there had been little contact.
The result means Ronny Deila's side look to Saturday's visit of Dundee United with renewed vigour as they aim to stamp their authority on the league early on.
After a far from ideal introduction to his new club, courtesy of the ongoing controversy surrounding their Champions League tie against Legia Warsaw and the below-par performances that proceeded the off-the-field drama, the man in the visiting dugout needed nothing less than a victory in his first domestic outing.
With players including Fraser Forster having exited during the summer, the onus was on this crop - which included the England international's replacement, Craig Gordon - to produce the type of performance that would instil confidence in the new regime.
They started brightly, with Emilio Izaguirre and Kris Commons - making his 100th appearance - looking lively.
And could have taken the lead when neat play from Commons allowed James Forrest to find space, but he could only drag his shot wide.
The Perth men - who took to the pitch on the back of an opening day win against Ross County - were largely penned in during the first exchanges and, despite the best efforts of Michael O'Halloran, struggled to make an impression.
Dave Mackay shown straight red by John Beaton
That was until, against the run of play, they came close when Steven MacLean hammered in a shot from the edge of the box that stung the palms of Gordon.
Stokes had Celtic's best effort of the first half when his free-kick just nicked wide.
Into the second 45, and O'Halloran fired an effort that cannoned off team-mate MacLean and went inches past Gordon's right-hand post.
Having kept their opponents at bay for so long, St Johnstone were their own undoing when Anderson dwelt on the ball and Commons was able to slide in to send Stokes through.
The striker then rounded Mannus and rolled the ball into the net.
Saints did not let their heads go down, and Mackay ventured into the Celtic area only to be closed down by Van Dijk, with the home fans left upset when John Beaton allowed play to go on after what they saw as a foul.
And Mackay's night went from bad to worse when he was adjudged to have tripped substitute Derk Boerrigter and was promptly dismissed.
Biton confidently struck from 12 yards to convert the resulting penalty and double the visitors' lead.
Dutchman Boerrigter, who had earlier threatened with a venomous free-kick - which had looked destined for the target but for a solid Mannus save - troubled St Johnstone with his pace throughout and the stretched home backline lost a third late on.
Their agony was compounded as, after a good move, McGregor added to the tally with a fizzing shot that went under Mannus, who will feel he should have done better with it.

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (6)

St Johnstone

  • 01 Mannus
  • 02 Mackay Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 24 Easton
  • 07 Millar
  • 06 Anderson
  • 03 Scobbie
  • 22 Croft
  • 16 Caddis (Wotherspoon - 45' Booked )
  • 09 MacLean
  • 08 McDonald (Miller - 78' )
  • 29 O'Halloran (Morgan - 60' )

Substitutes

  • 05 Wright
  • 10 Wotherspoon
  • 11 Morgan
  • 15 Banks
  • 19 Miller
  • 20 Brown
  • 25 Kane

Celtic

  • 26 Gordon
  • 02 Matthews
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 06 Biton
  • 23 Lustig
  • 05 van Dijk
  • 49 Forrest (Boerrigter - 58' )
  • 15 Commons (Berget - 66' )
  • 25 Johansen Booked
  • 10 Stokes (Kayal - 73' )
  • 42 McGregor

Substitutes

  • 04 Ambrose Emuobo
  • 11 Boerrigter
  • 16 Berget
  • 20 Pukki
  • 22 Denayer
  • 24 Zaluska
  • 33 Kayal
Ref: John Beaton
Att: 6,890

Match Stats

Possession54%46%90minsSt JohnstoneCeltic

Shots

6 16

On target

1 8

Corners

3 6

Fouls

12 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time
Full Time Match ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 3.
90:00 +1:03 Full time
Full Time Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 3.
90:00 +0:48 Attempt saved. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal.
90:00 +0:25 Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Steven Anderson.
89:27 Brian Easton (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
89:27 Foul by Jo Inge Berget (Celtic).
88:52 Attempt missed. Derk Boerrigter (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
87:49 Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Alan Mannus.
87:32 Attempt saved. Callum McGregor (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
87:04 Foul by Chris Millar (St. Johnstone).
87:04 Stefan Johansen (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
85:51 Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Gary Miller.
83:58 Goal scored
Goal! Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 3. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Matthews.
83:12 Attempt missed. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
80:19 Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
80:19 Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Celtic).
79:42 Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Brian Easton.
79:12 Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Tam Scobbie.
77:33 Substitution
Substitution Substitution, St. Johnstone. Gary Miller replaces Gary McDonald.
77:03 Attempt missed. Jo Inge Berget (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high.


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