Saints 0-3 Celtic – Taylor Made Victory in Perth

3 goals within a blistering 26 minutes of the first half had the 3 points well wrapped up in Perth last night against St Johnstone.

The second half would be like blisters on the eyes but we can come to that later.

After Hearts victory on Sunday had handed the Title Race advantage back to Celtic, the question was how would Neil Lennons men react.

The answer was 45 minutes of pure scintillating football that completely blew Tommy Wrights men in blue away.

Celtic played with a swagger, drive and movement that was a true joy to watch. On a wet cold night up in Perth, this was football, The Celtic Way!. The game could have been tricky but the Saints side didn’t know what hit them as the Celtic side simple ran right over them on the way to a 3 nil victory.

The 3 goals were all impressive.

The first had Ntcham heading home after lovely play on the right of the Saints box between Eddy and the returning (and bearded!) James Forrest who collected Eddys return pass and sent in a perfect cross for the advancing Olivier to score the opener.

The second then saw Calmac do the soft shoe shuffle and pass to his right where Forrest then cut in and struck the ball home, you know, in that Forrest Way. A great return to the side for Prestwick’s finest after a recent absence, possibly enforced whilst his wee face recovered from the extra beard weight.

The final goal saw lovely calm set up play on the left with Calmac and the very impressive Greg Taylor. Calmac played Taylor into  a yard of space and Taylor swung in a great cross, one of many that night, and there was Griff to guide the ball home with the composed ease of a confident striker.

It could have easily been 5 or 6 in the first half..Taylors crosses went a-begging, Griff had a header edge just wide and the Saints keeper was constantly busy.

The only blemish in that first half was a water bottle being thrown towards the Saints goal. At first I thought it was from an irate Tommy Wright on the Saints bench but BT cameras showed it coming from a Celtic fan area. Just idiotic.

Then we had the 2nd half.

Sigh.

I confess i missed the kick off as I had switched over to Italian football rather than listen to Ally McCoist. When I did switch back, the game clock read 46 mins and I couldnt quite believe what I was seeing.

Celtic had possession on the right and Moritz Bauer had somehow appeared to come on and he played the ball over to a charging Kris Ajer on the left wing. Ajer then played the ball back to the new Celtic Centre Half…Scott Brown!

It turned out Mr Jozo Glass had been taken off at the break but rather than swap Bauer in to the 3-5-2 or move to a 4-4-2, Lenny somehow just said “Go and have a laugh Broony” and put the captain to the right of a back 3 and put the defensive right-back to right wingback even though Bauer is ineffective there and the move also robbed our midfield of arguably its key component.

It was a shambles. We lost all our shape and composure and worse our direction. Saints came close to scoring a few times which was annoying given this game should have been a cricket score for us.

I have to admit I was annoyed. Some folk on Twitter were saying “chill” and even in todays Diary Ralph makes the note that the game was done and who cares if the side were taking it easy with a tough schedule ahead, but it was a gilt edged opportunity to score a barrel load and get that goal difference up and away.

It was also a perfect opportunity to grab a few more goals, get more gelling amongst the front 5 and also give the new Striker Klimala a good 20-30 mins on the pitch.

But no.

We had a flat side and the poor show culminated in a shambles near the end.

After Celtic fans had been crying out for 75 minutes for our new striker to get some decent game time,, Lenny told Klimala to get stripped.

The plan was for Klimala to replace Eddy, however right before  the switch, Mikey Johnston who had come on for Griff a little earlier, was grimacing and grabbing his knee after clashing with a Saints player just before the substitution was to be made.

Lenny paused the switch and asked “Mikey you ok?” a few times and Johnston replied yes.

Lenny needed to know as Ryan Christie would have replaced Mikey if needed, but the returning Christie was told to remain seated and the original substitution plan would be executed.

A few minutes later, with 10 mins left, on came Klimala for Edouard and Johnstone stayed on the pitch with Eddy retiring. .

A few minutes later down on the pitch sat Johnstone and off he duly came leaving us with 10 men on the park.

Lenny’s anger was captured in a “Fuck off” to the young forward who noted the response and headed for the tunnel.

It basically summed up a shambolic second half but hey ho,  lets remember the positives.

The game finished 3-0 and 3 away points secured.

It was an amazing first half display and Griffiths and Edouard are showing that good players can play together. A shocker that one eh?

In goal, big Fraser continues to keep the opposition at bay despite being able to nap during games and in front of him Ajer and Jullien clear the lines.

In midfield. Ntcham is shining and MacGregor keeps everything ticking over along with Broony who helps turning the ball over or winning it back.

Out wide it was good to see Forrest get a goal and an assist, still not sure about the beard mind but good luck to our Dashing Blade.

The highlight of the night was on the left though. Greg Taylor was excellent. He ran all night, tackled and covered where need be, and was brilliant going forward, overlapping and crossing. Our first choice left back has been found, call off the search.

Its onwards to Hamilton and if we can get 3 goals in the first half then I wont complain or even sigh…lets pray no weird tinkering from Lenny from now on.

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Puggy67

It was 4/1 > 4.5 goals and at 26 mins I was counting my dough. There’s not a queue at the pay out counter. Agree with the putting on the agony approach to goal scoring to counterbalance the honest mistakes.

Monti

Oh there you are Puggy…..did Ralph let you up for a breath?
🙂

Rebus67

Desi, A great summary of the game. I must admit I had doubts about the 352 . Firstly, I thought we would be shredded with just three at the back. Secondly, I thought that Griff could not play with Eddy. I have definitely been proved wrong on the first, and so far, Eddy and Griff seem to interact effectively upon occasion. Griff’s goal was a beauty. There are two ways of looking at the second half. The first is that the manager lost the plot for some reason. The second is that the second half collapse indicates how important Brown… Read more »

Monti

Great first half, proper old fashioned Celtic all out attack, playing great stuff & scoring at will….then the second half was shambolic pish.
Was laughing at Lenny when he was giving Mikey the death stare…quality.
Good to see James Forrest looking like James Forrest again!

Agree Rebus with all you say here. Mikey probably had the adrenlin rush and didn’t feel it as much when it happened.
Lennys reaction was a disgrace as a Celtic manager. 2cd half was poor and we should be going all out to get the goals on the board. But the first half superb.
If that was Stevie G we would have been all over him.
Classless from Lenny

Monti

Oh fk off….no you didn’t!

D J Smyth

Jock Stein would have said far more than Lennon , Johnstone has to learn there is no “i” in team .

Alan

for the life of me, I cant see why Lenny did not take off Eddie at half time. he needs protecting and is our most important player. when he got levelled by one of the opposition, my heart was in my mouth.
why the fuck would you not give the new Bhoy a solid half against a beaten team? good chance to get that all important first goal. its very difficult to get going with that little time.

Thankfully Taylor is up and running great performance no need for Boli or Hayes at left back now.

charlie

oh dont say that tae mikey ffs young mikey acted selfish by puttin himsel before the team lenny wis right tae tellum tae fook off lets no make a big thing ae it

Rebus67

Charlie,

Nice to talk to you. Let’s agree to disagree on this.

Rebus

charlie

ok he he

charlie

hows tricks rebus hope you and yours ar all well

Rebus67

Charlie,

2019 was a bad year for me. One of my brother’s has pancreatic cancer that has spread. He has two month left. My wife was treated, successfully, for breast cancer.

I hope 2020 is better and that we do another treble.

Cheers,

Rebus

charlie

sorry to hear aboot yer bro mate

He sat there as if he was in charge of a pub team no way for a Celtic manager to conduct himself. Say it after the game how you feel not in full view of the cameras. He could have got up and said go to the dressing room son I will see you in there.
Not fuck off. Maybe I’m just too old fashioned when it comes to what I believe the proper conduct of a Celtic manager should be.

Mike

Your usual great summary. Atrocious weather, made up for by the three stands of Celtic supporters. “They are there, they are always there”. Great team interplay first half, you can see why we all appreciate all that Odsonne brings to the team, like Henke, he is a team player. Taylor was excellent as was Ajer and Cal-mac and dare I say it (gulp) Ntcham. 0-3 game over. Substitutions, formations and team selection remain in the Lenny box of mystery, but if it continues to work, then magic. James Forrest’s new unkempt look had me throwing my spare change onto the… Read more »

Mike

Your usual excellent summary, the only thing I could add would be that Mr. Beaton had a difficult time keeping his hand out of his pocket, he wanted to, but the singing of the support was a timely reminder to him to keep his hands out of it. Three stands full of Celtic supporters, singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, we are happy again, just like being at home. The rain was that heavy that the silvery Tay was filled up to the brim. Tommy Wrights face, the stuff of young nightmares and Lenny’s? a mixture of quiet… Read more »

sfa unfit for purpose

Lenny ,,, Quiet satisfaction , raging bull , clueless idiot at times and embarrassing reaction to mikey.
As a manager he is not leading by example. The tactical changes last night are a real worry. You have to work hard as a Celtic manager to be able to hamper your own side as much as he did last night.
Baffling .

Mike

The quiet satisfaction of watching the first half, where the players played really well and should have been better than three goals to the good.
The raging bull where he asked a player if he was ok to continue and he said that he was, but only making his injury worse. It was his facial expression that I commented on, not his suitability to manage.

Rebus67

SFA,

You are right on the money!

Rebus

Monti

A woman has just sat down beside me on the bus, i said to her, ” have you got enough room there “?
She replied ” yes thanks ”

She obviously doesn’t get sarcasm 🙂

TicToc

So Monti, you were sittin’ on that bench-type seat at the backae the bus?
FFS, I never had you down for a backae the bus typae guy! Ne’er mind, Tiochfaidh Ar La, and when it does ye’ll never have tae sit there, ever again! 🙂
FC not PLC
HH

Pish it was out of having no other option but to play him.

Bgbhoy

Not the more obvio us choice when Hayes and Bolingoli have been pish

Iancelt67

Kilmala should’ve been on. Why Mickey Johnston is being used at 3-0 up is beyond me. Obviously in Lennon’s plans probably to be tag dolled against the Huns. Injuries are hard to judge players feel like they can be run off. Johnston probably get he was ok to continue. Lennon showed a lack of professionalism here. He was single handedly was responsible for tinkering with a team playing wonderful football into one struggling for ideas. He fucked the rhythm then took his frustration on a young guy with bum fluff on his face. Indefensible. Ralph’s appraisal of the management teams… Read more »

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