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A Tale of Two Halves...And Two Subs

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celtic into cup semmi-final

Scott Sinclair celebrates his superb goal

Sunday 5th March 2017: Scottish Cup Quarter Final Celtic 4 (Lustig 58, Sinclair 59, Dembele 68, Griffiths 78) St Mirren 1 (Davis 13)

Celtic eventually cruised into the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup but it took a pair of substitutions to rouse the team after a poor first half.

Brendan Rodgers made no changes to the side which beat Inverness in midweek, whilst amongst the subs Patrick Roberts returned and Kouassi Eboue made his first appearance on the bench.

Before the game started an impeccable minute's silence was held in honour of the late Tommy Gemmell.

St MIrren took a shock lead after only thirteen minutes, with a goal which owed a lot to poor Celtic defending as Sutton won a header in the box and Harry Davis was left with a tap-in (0-1).

Celtic were finding it hard to create any chances, St Mirren manager Jack Ross's tactics of letting Dedryck Boyata constantly have the ball and putting men behind the ball were working a treat. Poor old Gary Mackay-Steven was having a terrible game, constantly getting in good positions and either losing the ball or misplacing his passes. The team seemed jaded, the only chance a Moussa Dembele shot which went the wrong side of the post.

Changes had to be made, and it no surprise when Patrick Roberts replaced GMS at half-time. The breakthrough was still elusive though, and another change was made when Leigh Griffiths replaced Nir Bitton, shortly after that Celtic had an incrediby lucky escape when Moussa Demeble diverted a St Mirren free-kick onto the underside of the Celtic bar.

That escape spurred us on, and after 58 minutes we were level. A great Patrick Roberts free-kick was touched into the net by Mikael Lustig (1-1).

A minute later it was 2-1. Celtic rampaged forward on the attack and Scott Sinclair curled a wonderful shot into the top corner (2-1).

The third goal arrived in the 68th minute, some great combination play by Sinclair and Roberts ending up with a Dembele tap-in (3-1).

Griffiths got the goal his play deserved with a shot in the corner of the net (4-1).

There could have been more goals as well, Dembele hit the outside of the post, Boyata had a goal disallowed after a foul by Dembele and with the last attack of the game a Roberts shot hit the post and Griffiths put in the rebound but was correctly ruled offside.

Final score 4-1, and it was the subs that made the difference, Patrick Roberts and especially Leigh Griffiths drove what was a lacklustre Celtic performance into a winning one. Credit also to Scott Brown who played well and Kouassi Eboue, who made his debut and immediately laid down a marker with a crunching challenge.

After a hiccup the Celtic machine rolls on and on. Next stop 'Rangers'.