Saturday 6th May
Saints pushed league champions Celtic close this afternoon at Parkhead but ultimately fell to a 4-1 defeat, despite the scoreline being goalless at half time.
The Hoops' Patrick Roberts opened the scoring on 48 minutes before Steven MacLean hit back a minute later to level the scoreline. But goals from Dedryck Boyata (52), Roberts again (62) and Callum McGregor (72) put the match out of reach for Tommy Wright's men.
The match was St. Johnstone captain, and all-time record appearance holder, Steven Anderson's 400th for Saints.
Next up is a home match with Partick Thistle on Saturday 13th May.
After last Saturday’s 2-0 win at Aberdeen, Saints were back on the road today as they headed to the east end of Glasgow to take on Champions Celtic for their last away game of the season. There were four changes made to the Saints team that started at Aberdeen last weekend as Alan Mannus, Chris Millar, Murray Davidson and David Wotherspoon dropped out to be replaced by Zander Clark, Blair Alston, Steven MacLean and Paul Paton. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers also made four changes to the team that started last Saturday’s 5-1 win against Rangers at Ibrox as Mikael Lustig, Scott Brown, Callum McGregor and Scott Sinclair dropped out to be replaced by Nir Bitton, Tom Rogic, Tony Ralston and Michael Johnston.
Celtic got the match underway and they made a strong start as Tom Rogic’s low drive from distance in the first minute was turned behind for a corner by Zander Clark. Then on 6 minutes Blair Alston did well to get back and make a great tackle to prevent Kiernan Tierney from crossing the ball into the box.
Saints got a half chance on 9 minutes as a poor pass by Celtic keeper Craig Gordon landed at the feet of Brian Easton whose cutback was eventually cleared by the home defence. Then a minute later Saints were awarded a free kick just outside the box as Graham Cummins was fouled by Dedryck Boyata. The free kick was taken by Danny Swanson however, his effort sailed over the bar.
The home side were awarded a free kick on 12 minutes following a foul on Rogic by Paul Paton. The free kick was taken by Stuart Armstrong however, his effort hit the Saints wall and then the danger was cleared.
Another attack by the home side on 14 minutes saw Michael Johnson unleash a strike that was palmed away by Clark. Then a minute later the Saints keeper was called into action again this time turning a Rogic strike behind for a corner.
Steven MacLean was the first person in referee Nick Walsh’s book on 28 minutes as he was shown a yellow card for a foul on Patrick Roberts.
On the half hour mark Richard Foster, did very well to clear an inviting ball into the box by Tony Ralston. Then on 33 minutes Tierney skipped past Swanson before unleashing a strike from 20 yards which went inches wide.
Saints created a half chance on 38 minutes as Graham Cummins flicked a long kick by Clark into the path of MacLean however, Boyata got back to clear the danger.
Saints got a decent chance to break the deadlock a minute before half time as Easton’s cross from the left was headed back across goal to Alston but the midfielders right footed effort went over.
Celtic took the lead on 2 minutes after the restart as Roberts guided a low left footed strike from the edge of the box past Clark.
The champions were not ahead for long as Saints drew level a minute later as following a scramble in the box the ball fell to MacLean who bundled it home.
The game then went back in favour of the hosts as they regained the lead on 52 minutes as Boyata bulleted a header past Clark from a Leigh Griffiths corner.
Saints were awarded a free kick on 55 minutes and it was taken by Liam Craig whose deep ball into the box found Steven Anderson and the Saints captain, who was making his 400th appearance for the club, sent the ball back across goal however, there were no takers.
On 59 minutes Griffiths linked up well with Scott Sinclair however, the Celtic substitute couldn’t get his effort on target.
Celtic made it 3 on 62 minutes as Clark couldn’t hold onto a Griffiths strike. The loose ball then fell to Sinclair and he crossed the ball to Roberts who tapped the ball into the empty net.
Celtic’s second change of the afternoon on 70 minutes saw Callum McGregor come on for Tom Rogic. The midfielder made an instant impact as on 72 minutes he cut inside from the right and glided through the Saints defence before slotting past Clark for Celtic’s fourth of the afternoon.
The hosts then comfortably saw the closing stages out as Saints never really created anything of significance to trouble the Celtic rearguard.
Man of the Match: Richard Foster
Celtic: Gordon, Simunovic, Bitton, Griffiths, Armstrong, Rogic (McGregor 70), Boyata, Roberts 9Forrest 83), Ralston, Tierney, Johnston (Sinclair 57) Unused Substitutes: De Vries (GK), Toure, Gamboa, Henderson Booked: None Scorers: Roberts (48, 62), Boyata (52), McGregor (72)
Saints: Clark, Alston (Wotherspoon 69), Anderson, MacLean, Swanson (Kane 80), Shaughnessy, Paton, Foster, Easton, Craig, Cummins (Thomson 61) Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Scobbie, Smith, Hurst Booked: MacLean, Swanson, Paton, Wotherspoon Scorers: MacLean (49)
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report by Daryl Scott
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