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Video Highlights - St Johnstone 0 - 2 Celtic
Late goals from Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala snatched three Scottish Premiership points for Celtic after a difficult game against St Johnstone.

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.

Man of the match - Leigh Griffiths

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.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "I thought the players performed to a very high standard and limited Celtic to very few changes.

"I am absolutely gutted for them more than anything else. Celtic bring five quality substitutes on and they are chasing the game."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "I think the subs gave us more urgency. I think our first half was not good enough, the second was better.

"It is evident Scott Brown's influence on the team. You can't dress up any kind of stats what he brings."

Posted by voc1967 on Sunday 04 October 2020 - 14:46:19 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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