St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic: Two late goals take visitors six clear at top

Celtic’s James Forrest slid in to open the scoring

Celtic moved six points obvious within the Scottish Premiership as aims within the final notice 12 minutes by James Forrest and Timothy Weah floored St Johnstone.

The guests were thwarted by a sequence of Zander Clark saves sooner than Forrest sooner or later jabbed in Timothy Weah’s execrable.

Weah scored Celtic’s 2d on the shatter sooner than the guests’ Kristoffer Ajer used to be despatched off within the final notice minutes.

The fifth-straight take will have come at a worth, with Mikael Lustig, Odsonne Edouard and Forrest all injured.

St Johnstone’s third consecutive defeat – after a trot of 10 wins in 14 games – leaves Tommy Wright’s aspect sixth within the desk, 5 points adrift of Hearts.

Celtic dominate after modifications

A match-up between the two facets with most dapper sheets within the tip flight this season used to be always going to be a tight affair.

Celtic had obtained three in a row in opposition to St Johnstone – most these days the 2-0 victory in Glasgow final Wednesday – and had now now not conceded within the old 5 conferences.

Brendan Rodgers’ aspect were unchanged from that midweek triumph, but their used to be rhythm vexed within the indispensable few seconds when Ajer’s chin collided with venerable Celtic striker Tony Watt’s crown.

The centre-half lay motionless for numerous minutes receiving treatment and, as the Norwegian sooner or later stumbled to the sidelines, Matty Kennedy bulldozed his manner by the intention he vacated top seemingly to be denied by the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Scott Bain.

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With Ajer support on the sphere, Celtic began to dominate possession in opposition to a St Johnstone aspect by which Sean Goss made his debut in no doubt one of 4 modifications following Wednesday’s lacklustre exhibit.

The guests had a penalty claim rejected by referee Willie Collum, who judged Jason Kerr to have bought a toe on to the ball as he slid in on Oliver Burke, but St Johnstone were rising the larger probabilities and Watt flicked over the crossbar from shut differ.

Celtic were forced to blood original signing Jeremy Toljan earlier than Rodgers would have liked as Lustig failed to emerge after half-time and, with that exchange, the drift of the game turned within the guests’ favour.

The on-loan Borussia Dortmund fair-support’s lower-support from the byeline gave Burke the chance to relate a sturdy low force that forced a wonderful one-handed save from Clark.

St Johnstone might quiet have long past ahead moment later, but Watt inexplicably failed to join with Kennedy’s execrable from two yards out, maybe distracted by the opportunity of colliding with a post.

Celtic responded by dominating the leisure of the game as Clark saved from Burke, Jozo Simunovic, Edouard and Scott Sinclair.

The guests were now to now not be denied, even though, and Forrest – who scored four aims on Celtic’s final seek the advice of with to Perth – stabbed in as Scott Tanser hesitated at the support post.

As St Johnstone pressed for an equaliser, Weah turned in a Callum McGregor execrable after a flowing scamper, and even though Ajer used to be despatched off for hauling support Callum Hendry, Celtic had already secured a sixth consecutive take at McDiarmid Park.

Zander Clark made a succession of stunning saves for St Johnstone but used to be sooner or later overwhelmed

Celtic dig deep to beat ‘outrageously fair’ Clark – diagnosis

BBC Scotland’s Alasdair Lamont at McDiarmid Park

Celtic’s persistence used to be come what could rewarded on what regarded for a long spell fancy being a frustrating afternoon.

There used to be an inevitability about it, such used to be the stress on the St Johnstone purpose within the 2d half. But, to overcome that doggedness, the champions had to dig deep and, when they did construct the leap forward, it had the feel of a well-known moment. It used to be no doubt infamous as such.

Supervisor Wright will wonder what his aspect must carry out to salvage the leisure from Celtic. They defended stoically for essentially the most segment and had Clark in outrageously fair form. Even he might now now not retain Celtic out, but by performing at this form of high level, as he has carried out most ceaselessly, in opposition to high-profile opposition, he must undoubtedly have caught the peep of Scotland head coach Alex McLeish.

Wright now has seven days to thought recommendations to fetch the larger of Rodgers and Celtic when they meet yet again within the Scottish Cup’s final 16.

‘A excellent result in opposition to a fair aspect’ – reaction

St Johnstone supervisor Tommy Wright: “I’m upset for them, but we did anticipate for an improved efficiency and I beget we bought that.

“We created Celtic extra complications than Wednesday and, first half, we created the top seemingly chance. We contributed to Celtic’s first purpose and the 2d used to be on the counter.”

Celtic supervisor Brendan Rodgers: “We knew that we needed to wait and see, while conserving the intensity of our sport.

“At final, once we tire them out and the spaces open up somewhat extra within the final 25 minutes, then we took our probabilities to ranking. It used to be a excellent result in opposition to a fair aspect.”

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