Celtic earn late win at St Johnstone

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Leigh Griffiths’ first goal since the start of March gave Celtic a late lead

Late goals from Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala snatched three Scottish Premiership points for Celtic after a difficult game against St Johnstone.

Griffiths was brought on for his first appearance of the season with 15 minutes left, and headed in to break the deadlock in the 90th minute.

Fellow substitute Klimala then made sure of the points deep into stoppage time with a finish at the near post.

The win moves Celtic above Rangers with both having played nine games.

However, Steven Gerrard’s side can return to the summit when they welcome Ross County at 15:00 BST.

For St Johnstone, it was a fourth successive league defeat and they have now scored just once in their last seven matches.

Callum Davidson’s side had the best chance in regulation time, Craig Conway crashing an attempt against an upright, and the Perth team also had the clearest opportunity of the opening half hour.

Conway’s in-swinging ball lured Vasilis Barkas off his line. David Wotherspoon nicked in ahead of him, but he got too much on his header when he just needed to glance it past the Celtic goalkeeper.

With David Turnbull – in for his first start – one of three changes from Thursday’s Europa League win in Bosnia, Celtic had the majority of the early possession.

Indeed, they could have had an early penalty had referee Nick Welsh spotted Liam Gordon pulling Shane Duffy’s shirt at a corner.

Callum McGregor, then Odsonne Edouard, had openings but St Johnstone went closest when Conway rattled a post after David Wotherspoon had picked him out with a brilliant early cross.

That acted as a wake-up call for Celtic. Turnbull mistimed a header after being picked out by McGregor, before Klimala volleyed narrowly wide and Griffiths had an attempt deflected over.

However, when the chance came in the 90th minute, he made no mistake. A searching Hatem Elhamed cross found the Scotland striker, who buried his header past Clark.

There was still time for Klimala to make the game look more comfortable than it was, the Polish forward riding a challenge before rifling in at the near post.

What did we learn

Celtic’s results have been excellent in recent weeks, but it is clear that they are not performing to the best of their ability.

Think back to the start of the year, when they were firing on all cylinders and Griffiths and Edouard formed a fine partnership. Griffiths made his first appearance of the term here and made a real impact.

This was a performance that offered encouragement for St Johnstone. Though they have been on a poor run, they looked confident on the ball and assured in their defending, with the back three especially impressive. With better finishing, they could have won the game.

More to follow.

Player of the match

MayStevie May

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number14Player nameMay

  2. Squad number15Player nameMcNamara

  3. Squad number3Player nameTanser

  4. Squad number7Player nameConway

  5. Squad number4Player nameMcCart

  6. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon

  7. Squad number18Player nameMcCann

  8. Squad number6Player nameGordon

  9. Squad number8Player nameDavidson

  10. Squad number5Player nameKerr

  11. Squad number11Player nameO’Halloran

  12. Squad number1Player nameClark

  13. Squad number22Player nameHendry

Celtic

  1. Squad number9Player nameGriffiths

  2. Squad number11Player nameKlimala

  3. Squad number8Player nameBrown

  4. Squad number30Player nameFrimpong

  5. Squad number4Player nameDuffy

  6. Squad number17Player nameChristie

  7. Squad number1Player nameBarkas

  8. Squad number18Player nameRogic

  9. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

  10. Squad number35Player nameAjer

  11. Squad number44Player nameElhamed

  12. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull

  13. Squad number21Player nameNtcham

  14. Squad number27Player nameElyounoussi

  15. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  16. Squad number22Player nameEdouard

Line-ups

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 5KerrSubstituted forHendryat 90+1′minutes
  • 6GordonBooked at 90mins
  • 4McCart
  • 15McNamara
  • 18McCann
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 68mins
  • 3Tanser
  • 7Conway
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 19minsSubstituted forO’Halloranat 67′minutes
  • 14May

Substitutes

  • 11O’Halloran
  • 12Parish
  • 13Bryson
  • 16Olaofe
  • 19Rooney
  • 20Robertson
  • 22Hendry
  • 24Booth
  • 26Craig

Celtic

  • 1Barkas
  • 44Elhamed
  • 4Duffy
  • 35Ajer
  • 30Frimpong
  • 21NtchamBooked at 13minsSubstituted forRogicat 76′minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 3TaylorSubstituted forBrownat 82′minutes
  • 14TurnbullBooked at 49minsSubstituted forChristieat 59′minutes
  • 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forGriffithsat 76′minutes
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forKlimalaat 59′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Jullien
  • 8Brown
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Klimala
  • 12Soro
  • 17Christie
  • 18Rogic
  • 29Bain
  • 57Welsh

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