Saturday August 26th: Scottish Premiership; Celtic 1 (McGregor 79’) St Johnstone 1 (MacLean 39’)
A much improved second-half performance maintained Celtic’s unbeaten domestic record, in a game that we really should have won. Brendan Rodgers refrained from making too many changes following Tuesday’s game in Astana, although he did move Lustig to centre-half to partner Bitton, meaning that Anthony Ralston came in to play right-back, with Jozo Simunovic on the bench. Tom Rogic also started, in place of Callum McGregor.
The start of the game was disrupted by a head injury suffered by St Johnstone’s Murray Davidson, who was taken to hospital as a precaution, we wish him well. Celtic’s only real chance early on in the game came when Griffiths shot into the side netting, as St Johnstone’s high press worked well early on.
St Johnstone then took the lead in the 39th minute, and the goal was a disaster for Craig Gordon, who was far too casual with a backpass, the ball finding its way to Stevie MacLean, who fired home despite Gordon’s protestations of offside - which he wasn’t. Watch the goal - if you dare - below.
St johnstone goal.. calamity at the back from Gordon pic.twitter.com/pkDUCuX4ap— ㅤㅤㅤk (@keiron_) August 26, 2017
A fine run from Scott Sinclair ended with a shot saved by Manus, as the first ended drew to a close. Brendan Rodgers made two changes at half-time, with Hayes and Armstrong replacing Ntcham and Forrest, and Armstrong came close with to an equaliser with a shot that Manus tipper over.
St Johnstone really should have doubled their advantage on the hour mark, with MacLean’s free header from five yards out saved by Gordon, with MacLean putting the rebound just wide. Shortly after this, McGregor replaced Ralston as Celtic made our final change.
Celtic were pilling on the pressure, and Manus made two saves in succession from Griffiths and Armstrong, before the equaliser finally arrived in the 79th minute, a trademark goal from Callum McGregor from just inside the box.
Celtic then went all out for the winner, with Sinclair hitting the bar after a quick free-kick, Lustig heading against the bar and Hayes having two efforts saved by Manus, but the winning goal just didn’t come, and Celtic were held to a draw.
There was always a danger Celtic could be sluggish after the events of Tuesday, and that was certainly the case in the first-half, however if we played like we did in the last twenty minutes the entire game then we would have won. Rogic had a good came and Armstrong did well when he came on but the defence, including Gordon, failed to convince. Brendan Rodgers and Celtic now head into the international break and closure of the transfer window with plenty to think about.