Sports

Celtic draw with St Johnstone to fall 13 points behind Rangers

on

Spread the love

Mohamed Elyounoussi scores
St Johnstone were finally breached when Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header looped into the net

Mohamed Elyounoussi rescued a point for Celtic against St Johnstone but the pressure on Neil Lennon grew as his side fell 13 points behind Rangers.

The visitors went ahead when Chris Kane slid home Stevie May’s cross but Elyounoussi’s header restored parity with seven minutes remaining.

It now means Lennon’s men, who have two games in hand, have won just two of their past 12 games.

They are also winless at home since the middle of September.

Callum Davidson’s side move level on points with seventh-place Kilmarnock while Celtic have now dropped nine points in five league games.

It was a day of big numbers for Celtic as captain Scott Brown made his 600th appearance for the club, McGregor his 300th and Lennon himself marked 20 years since he first joined Celtic as a player.

But the stat that mattered most to the home side was whether they could register a win.

They set about doing that with Odsonne Edouard playing a one-two with Tom Rogic and getting away a shot that took a nick off a Saints defender before goalkeeper Zander Clark gathered.

Rogic should have hit the target with a header after Christopher Jullien nodded Ryan Christie’s free-kick back into a busy area.

Edouard did find his mark with a shot off McGregor’s through ball but Clark was well positioned to save and McGregor’s rebound effort was wayward.

Chris Kane scores for St Johnstone against Celtic
Kane forced in St Johnstone’s opener in the 79th minute

St Johnstone, having travelled to Glasgow unbeaten in five league games, posed the hosts problems through a volley from May that was headed away by Nir Bitton near the goal line and another effort from the striker that fizzed across the face of goal.

Bitton tried to usher the ball over the line at a corner in the second half but Clark was alert again and the Perth side were soon in front.

Kane had replaced the injured Michael O’Halloran in the first half and he was left free to convert May’s dangerous cross after Celtic failed to clear their lines at a free-kick.

Edouard forced another save from Clark as the hosts toiled but moments later Christie’s cross was headed backwards by Elyounoussi and Celtic had a quick equaliser.

Further efforts came in from Turnbull, Christie and Elyonoussi as the home side chased victory but St Johnstone held out.

Man of the match – Zander Clark

St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark makes a save to deny Celtic's Nir Bitton
Clark’s crucial saves gave him the edge over his outfield colleagues, who also excelled

What did we learn?

Celtic have flitted between three and four at the back this season and Lennon re-established a 3-5-2 for the visit of Saints.

Defensively, the home side did not give up as many chances as they had in recent matches but the expected width did not materialise, once again emphasising the gap left by the absent James Forrest.

Distribution was poor and creativity lacking from Celtic, which only encouraged a well-drilled St Johnstone side.

For their part, Saints were not just organised, they carried a threat even before their opener and were good value for a point. That’s now 11 games unbeaten in 90 minutes on the bounce.

What did they say?

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: “The players were tremendous. They worked unbelievably hard off a good shape. We had a wee bit of sustained pressure when we got the goal.

“Could we hang on for the victory? Unfortunately we didn’t but I’m really proud of my players. I’ll take the draw. It’s what we deserve with our efforts and application.”

What’s next?

Celtic complete their Europa League campaign at home to Lille on Thursday evening and host Kilmarnock in the Premiership next Sunday. St Johnstone are at home to Livingston in the league on Saturday.

Player of the match

WotherspoonDavid Wotherspoon

Celtic

  1. Squad number27Player nameElyounoussi

  2. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull

  3. Squad number17Player nameChristie

  4. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

  5. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  6. Squad number9Player nameGriffiths

  7. Squad number1Player nameBarkas

  8. Squad number18Player nameRogic

  9. Squad number30Player nameFrimpong

  10. Squad number2Player nameJullien

  11. Squad number22Player nameEdouard

  12. Squad number93Player nameLaxalt

  13. Squad number6Player nameBitton

  14. Squad number35Player nameAjer

  15. Squad number8Player nameBrown

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon

  2. Squad number18Player nameMcCann

  3. Squad number1Player nameClark

  4. Squad number9Player nameKane

  5. Squad number19Player nameRooney

  6. Squad number3Player nameTanser

  7. Squad number15Player nameMcNamara

  8. Squad number4Player nameMcCart

  9. Squad number14Player nameMay

  10. Squad number6Player nameGordon

  11. Squad number26Player nameCraig

  12. Squad number11Player nameO’Halloran

  13. Squad number13Player nameBryson

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Barkas
  • 6Bitton
  • 2Jullien
  • 35AjerSubstituted forElyounoussiat 81′minutes
  • 30Frimpong
  • 17Christie
  • 8BrownSubstituted forGriffithsat 59′minutes
  • 42McGregorBooked at 78mins
  • 93LaxaltSubstituted forTaylorat 45′minutes
  • 18RogicSubstituted forTurnbullat 68′minutes
  • 22Edouard

Substitutes

  • 3Taylor
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Klimala
  • 12Soro
  • 14Turnbull
  • 21Ntcham
  • 27Elyounoussi
  • 29Bain
  • 44Elhamed

St Johnstone

  • 1Clark
  • 19Rooney
  • 6Gordon
  • 4McCart
  • 15McNamaraBooked at 90mins
  • 18McCann
  • 13BrysonBooked at 54minsSubstituted forCraigat 86′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 3Tanser
  • 11O’HalloranSubstituted forKaneat 26′minutesBooked at 68mins
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 64mins
  • 14May

Substitutes

  • 5Kerr
  • 9Kane
  • 12Parish
  • 17Melamed
  • 22Hendry
  • 26Craig
  • 40Denham
  • 46Ferguson
  • 54McFarlane

Live Text

Banner Image Match of the Day

About Frank Rideout