Celtic’s failure to score 8 goals on the 8th Flag Day in a row left absolutely no fans with a bad taste in their mouth, despite the Press dying for something negative to say about one of the most exhilarating performances seen at Paradise in many a time.
From the outset it was clear that Celtic had a plan of attack in mind and it was as effective as it was glorious to watch. With Mikey Johnston running riot up the left and Hatem Abd Elhamed, making his dynamic debut ( before a dead leg forced him off) rampaging up the right, there was only the middle for St Johnstone to hide.
Sadly for the Saints, that’s where Ryan Christie and Odsonne Edouard had placed themselves and the pair played their best games in the Hoops. Not only did they play amazing as single players, but their link up play, flicks, runs, turns, it was all superb. It really does bode well for the season ahead to see such players so comfortable on the ball and around each other.
Praise should go to everyone concerned for what was a truly great day.
The Stadium entrance looked great.
Inside the place was rocking with fans in a great mood and the flag ceremony went very well
The goals flowed and special tribute to the manager for showing faith in opener Mikey and telling Ryan Christie to shoot on sight. That really paid off. Nice substitutions with Ntcham scoring with his first touch pile-driver and then Griff scoring with a great low drive and feeling the applause of everyone and celebrated with team mates.
The highlights of course were Christie and Edouard
Its a treat watching a player like Christie, a smile on his face with a steely will to win. 2 of his finishes were of the highest order whilst even his 2nd goal saw him just smile whilst feeling sorry for the inept Saints keeper who spilled his daisy cutter. The highlight for me though was one moment in the first half.
A Celtic attack had just broken down near the Saints box…Christie then chased, harried and won back the ball to help launch another attack. As Celtic fans clapped in applause, so did our new right back Hatem Abd Elhamed who was clearly impressed.
As for Edouard. It seems like we have a different Eddy this year. He looks leaner, meaner, quicker, fitter and play wise, he was simply unstoppable on Saturday. It was great to see him get his goal as he really deserved it. The dribbles, the passes, the making space, truly sublime and his ability to now lead the line and play with his back to goal has really came on strong.
With these two players ( as well as Griff, Mikey, Jamesy etc…) SPFL defences beware!
Scott Bain – 7 – Good catches and made a brilliant Cruyff turn..then went to sleep for 89 minutes.
Elhamed – 9 – Impressive debut. Some great runs and looked very decent indeed. Dead leg from some “choice” St Johnstone tackles and taken off early in 2nd half.
Ajer – 7 – Eased through the game and £15m from Leicester might buy 1 leg.
Bitton – 7 – Unsung hero so far this season. Plays quietly and effectively.
Bolingoli-Mbombo – 8 – Really gets involved and must be due a goal soon. Some folk in media seem to want to run him down but the guy can run all day. Doing well in a pressured position with all the KT speculation.
Brown – 8 – Makes it all look so easy which we all know is the hardest thing of all. Laughed at big daft Murray Davidson trying to throw himself about.
Calmac – 8 – Learning from Broony all the time whilst providing great passes, darting runs and an out whenever needed. Pure class.
Forrest – 7 – A somewhat quieter game but made some great space and appreciated having an overlapping right back in the side again. Needs to turn and get running more with ball at his feet now that he should have that space created.
Johnston -8 – Gave the Saints right back nightmares, in fact turned the poor guy 3 times before slotting home the winner. Some good combinations with Eddy and Boli so bodes well for future.
Christie – 10 – 3 goals and a standing ovation from Celtic Park. Wonderful.
Edouard – 10 – 1 goal but made so much of the wonderful play on view. The twinkle toe dance along the Saints 18 yard line to beat 4 blue jerseys was amazing to watch.
Ralston -5 – Tried his best and one good run attempt but in honestly a replacement looks far more likely than Ralston getting to stay on the bench all season
Griff – 6 – Scored a cracker and made a cracker. Looking good and looks comfortable in himself and his place in the squad.
Ntcham – 6 – First touch..boom…great goal and if he is still here come September, its doubtful anyone will complain.
A big fat 11 out of 10 for Neil. Brilliant tactics, brilliant approach and brilliant man management and squad selection and circulation. As he put it in post match interview..”Perfect!”.