Official Match Report
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Sunday, February 2, 2014
FRASER Forster made history as Celtic kept their 11th successive league shut-out in a dominant 1-0 victory over St Mirren, a result which moved them 21 points clear at the Scottish Premiership summit.
The England internationalist has now eclipsed the great Charlie Shaw´s long-standing record which had stood for 92 years and he received a well-deserved rousing reception at the final whistle from the Paradise crowd.
Kris Commons´ 22nd goal of the season proved the difference between the sides as the Hoops spurned a number of good chances to add to their tally.
However, helped by several good stops from Forster, most notably from Josh Magennis in the second-half, the Scottish champions didn’t pay for their profligacy as they extended their unbeaten league run to 24 games.
New Bhoy Stefan Johansen was handed his first Celtic start, taking the place of Joe Ledley, who completed a move to Crystal Palace late on Friday night after three-and-a-half years of wonderful service to the club.
But it was a familiar face who handed the Hoops the lead with their first attempt on goal.
Collecting Emilio Izaguirre´s pass, Commons took a touch beyond Jim Goodwin before beating Marian Kello with a low shot from 25 yards, though the St Mirren keeper will be disappointed not to have kept it out.
It was the ideal start for Neil Lennon´s men, whose confidence was already brimming following their fantastic run of form, and they quickly fashioned further openings as they zipped the ball around at pace.
Virgil van Dijk showcased his strength and skill as he held off two challenges and slid in Anthony Stokes and the Irishman, making his 100th start for the Hoops, was narrowly off target from an acute angle.
A lightening breakaway then saw Darnell Fisher round Kello and reach the byline but his inviting cutback was hacked clear.
In the 18th minute, the whole of Celtic Park stood on masse to show their support to Neil Lennon, and the manager would have been pleased by the type of football his charges were producing on the park as they continued to dominate proceedings and launch a series of forward raids.
Stokes spun sharply and shot over, before Commons displayed great awareness to leave Mulgrew´s pass for Scott Brown who blasted over.
At the other end, Forster had been a virtual spectator but he was finally forced into meaningful action as he made a comfortable stop from Greg Wylde´s weak shot.
Normal service was swiftly resumed, though, as cross after cross was fired into the Buddies box as the visitors were forced into some desperate defending.
Johansen had slotted in impressively on his full debut and some neat footwork from the Norwegian saw him escape Goodwin´s clutches and glean a sight of goal. However, he could only drag his shot wide.
Kello was called into action by Forrest three minutes before the break, however, the Slovakian making a smart save from the winger´s powerful, low effort.
Stokes´ curling shot on the stroke of half-time did leave Kello grasping at thin air but it also shaved the far post.
Celtic sprung from the traps after the interval and Marc McAusland almost diverted Mulgrew´s low delivery into his own net.
But, having pushed Magennis up front alongside Steven Thompson, the visitors were posing a greater threat.
Efe Ambrose has to be alert to clear after Thompson had managed to reach a long ball before Forster. And then on the hour mark, Magennis held off Ambrose and forced Forster into an excellent save with a stinging shot.
That seemed to spur Celtic back into action as they applied some heavy pressure on the Paisley side.
Mulgrew was picking up plenty of promising positions on the left and his low cross deflected off Darren McGregor into Kello´s grateful hands.
Forrest, Mulgrew and Stokes all had efforts in quick succession and then Commons tried his luck from distance as the Bhoys upped the tempo.
The hosts continued to pepper Kello´s goal as the clock ticked down, with Stokes squandering the best chance as he fastened on to a shot backpass.
The Irishman elected to round Kello instead of passing to Derk Boerrigter and he failed to find the net from an acute angle.
However, it didn’t prove to be a costly miss as Celtic held firm to continue their remarkable run of domestic form and Forster wrote his name into the history books.
CELTIC (4-4-2) Forster; Fisher, Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Forrest (Boerrigter 70) Brown, Johansen, Mulgrew; Commons (Balde 78) Stokes
Subs: Zaluska, Biton, Samaras, Pukki, O´Connell
ST MIRREN (4-5-1) Kello, Naismith, McAusland, McGregor, Kelly; Magennis, Newton, Goodwin (Campbell 82), McGinn, Wylde; Thompson (McLean 70)
Subs: Dilo, Van Zanten, Reilly Brady, Morgan
Website Man of the Match: Stefan Johansen
21 points clear 24 games unbeaten and the great wall(fraser forster)made history as Celtic kept their 11th successive league shutout….how much longer the team can go who knows all thats missing from a wonderful season is for the sevco bubble to burst over at the shitpit,im counting the days till the 2nd Armageddon,il not soil this post though with mention of tax evaders uk thats for other areas of the blog..
The team have been excellent this season ,as well as fraser forster ,effe ambrose and virgil van dyk have been class,totally solid in the centre of defence,commons it goes without saying has been the talisman this season with his 22 goals,james forrests return from injury seen the young winger hit the ground running in recent games, and scott brown continues to show his worth,the new norwegian lad Johansen looks a class act to……….
Aberdeen come calling saturday in the william hill Scottish cup and with recent events fresh in the memory from tynecastle where Aberdeen fans pelted neil lennon with coins and spat at him ,this should be a explosive encounter…i hope celtic turn the dons over big style nobody messes with mr lennon ……………hh