Going into yesterdays league game with St Johnstone the hoops faithful might have been on a wee downer after the events of Tuesday night previous in Sweden ,losing out to Malmo seemed to bring a lot of negativity for the club from the fans and the media,ive had my say on the champions league and im not going to prattle on about it today again,anyone who reads the blog knows my thoughts….I watched the Europa League draw unfold on Friday and it set me up nice for yesterdays game against St Johnstone in the premiership a team who always seem to do quite well at parkhead….
So when Boyata spooned the ball into the Celtic net early on i could see the alarm bells ringing with some of the fans and i could imagine the hacks headlines if Celtic were to go on and lose the game…..Gladly Celtic came through the game comfortably and won 3-1 ,goals from Griffiths,Rogic and Mulgrew sealed a solid win and when it was all said and done on the day hearts dropped points against Hamilton so we went top of the division again,going into the international break its not all doom and gloom like some would have you believe,were back at the summit of the league ,about to embark on a Europa league campaign,lee Griffiths looks like he will score every game ,and Rogic is playing out his skin…
The goal he scored against Partick Thistle earlier in the month was class but yesterdays goal was even better showing real close control on the edge of the box before smashing it home,Craig Gordon again proved his worth with numerous fine saves none better than the double save late on his stock has once again been raised and hes been a able replacement for Fraser Forster,ive also liked the look of Janko the Swiss defender on loan from Manchester utd looks strong and likes to get forward and he can deliver a ball….
The arrival of his teamate Tyler Blackett from the red devils will provide some familiarity and if they both play could provide the team with a solid backline,Scott Allen made his home debut and showed some nice touches and you can see that this Celtic team is pretty youthful ,its obvious to me that Ronnie Deila and John Collins are building a fit young side for the future and the public will have to be patient ,its a long road il take a few wee hiccups today for a much improved product in the future….
A few more faces may come in before the window closes and likewise a few may leave ,one strongly tipped to be heading south is Virgil Van Dyk the big Dutch centre half has had a fine Celtic career and id like to wish him all the best when he does leave ,our next match is against 2 nd spot Aberdeen after the international break and this will be our first real test of the season domestically ,of course now till christmas its going to be busy with both Europa league thursdays and league games saturdays and sundays ,and the cup competitions starting as well so its full steam ahead for the club ,a big squad will be required and we look like we have plenty strength and depth to compete on 4 fronts HH
OFFICIAL MATCH REPORT
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Saturday, May 29, 2015
(Griffiths 18’, Rogic 44’, Mulgrew 67’)
(Boyata [O.G] 11’)
A HARD-FOUGHT but ultimately deserved 3-1 victory over St Johnstone saw Celtic retain their unbeaten run in the SPFL Premiership and get back to winning ways after Tuesday’s disappointment.A well-drilled Saints side took an early lead through Dedryck Boyata’s own goal and made life difficult for the champions all afternoon, but goals from Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic and second-half substitute Charlie Mulgrew eventually secured the victory for Ronny Deila’s side.Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon was forced into a trio of stunning late saves to keep the Bhoys on top and his efforts ultimately helped the champions go to the summit of the league for the first time this season after Hearts were beaten 3-2 by Hamilton Accies.
Four changes were made to the team following Tuesday’s exertions in Sweden, with Emilio Izaguirre returning at left-back and the entire attacking midfield line refreshed for the visit of the Saints with Kris Commons, Rogic and Gary Mackay-Steven replacing James Forrest, Stefan Johansen and Stuart Armstrong.Celtic began the game in enterprising fashion but St Johnstone stunned the home crowd when took the lead on 11 minutes after a slice of bad luck saw Boyata put the ball into his own net.The goal came after Michael O’Halloran took on Izaguirre down the Celtic left and squeezed in a cross, which Craig Gordon looked to have covered but the ball slipped under his body and bounced off the Belgian defender into the empty net.
The champions rallied and got back on level terms on 18 minutes through Leigh Griffiths’ eighth goal of the season when the striker hit a swerving effort which skimmed off Tom Scobbie and into the net.As half-time approached, the game was stopped for a period when Izaguirre suffered a head knock while defending a cross at the back post but he was okay to stay on. The Honduran then almost set-up Griffiths for Celtic to take the lead but the striker’s header hit the side-netting shortly before half-time.However, the Hoops did go in front just before the interval, and it was a goal worth waiting for after Rogic skipped his way past two challenges in the box before he lashed a powerful right-foot shot beyond Mannus to put the champions 2-1 up at the break.
After new loan signing Tyler Blackett was paraded in front of the home support at the interval, Celtic went back on the hunt for more goals to kill the game.A 10-minute period of solid Celtic possession characterised the start of the second-half, but the Bhoys were forced into a change when Hoops skipper Brown came off for Charlie Mulgrew just before the hour mark.The switch didn’t impact Celtic’s attacking flow, however, and they went close to finding a third when Rogic let fly from 25 yards out, but his effort whistled wide.Credit was due to St Johnstone, who continued to snap at the heels of the Celtic midfielders and striker, limiting their time on the ball, but the champions were not to be denied a third and it came through substitute Mulgrew after Commons’ clever shot from inside the box was brilliantly tipped wide for a corner by Mannus.
Commons took the set-piece quickly and Mulgrew bravely stuck his head in to connect with the ball after Van Dijk had knocked it into the six-yard box.Tommy Wright’s side were not out, however, and they tested the Celtic defence with a string of corners which the champions struggled to clear as the game drew to its conclusion.Saints striker John Sutton had the best chance from those set-plays when the ball broke to him six yards out but his volley on the turn clipped the bar and went out for a goal-kick.Scott Allan made his home debut with just over 10 minutes left and he went close twice, once with a left-footed shot from inside the area before sending a drive over the bar in stoppage time.A late St Johnstone free-kick gave Celtic cause for concern but Gordon palmed Liam Craig’s curling effort wide before the Celts keeper pulled off a remarkable double save on his goal-line with seconds left to secure the points for the champions.
Celtic (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Janko, Boyata, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown (Mulgrew 59), Bitton (McGregor 87); Commons (Allan 77), Rogic, Mackay-Steven; Griffiths.
Not used: Bailly, Ambrose, Forrest, Stokes
ST JOHNSTONE (4-4-1-1) Mannus; Shaughnessy, Mackay, Scobbie, Easton; O’Halloran, Millar, Davidson (Craig 46), Wotherspoon; MacLean (Sutton 68); Cummins (Kane 80)
Not used: Clark, Lappin, McKay, Caddis
Dunfermline Athletic v Celtic
6th September 2015
Kick Off 14:00