Sunday 10th February
Saints exited the William Hill Scottish Cup this afternoon as they were well beaten by the holders at Celtic Park.
Celtic took the lead after 3 minutes as Scott Sinclair converted an Oliver Burke cutback. It was then 2-0 after 9 minutes as Scott Brown sent a spectacular shot from 30 yards into the top corner of the net.
The second half started in a similar fashion as James Forrest got Celtic’s third of the afternoon on 52 minutes as he converted following a mazy run by Jonny Hayes. Scott Sinclair got his second of the match 2 minutes later tapping in a Burke cross.
Sinclair then completed his hat-trick with a minute of normal time remaining as he latched onto an Odsonne Édouard pass before slotting it into the bottom corner of the net to cap of an afternoon to forget for Saints.
Celtic Park, the scene of Saints Scottish Cup Final win in 2014 against Dundee United, was the destination for Saints this afternoon as they took on Celtic in a Fifth-Round tie. It was the third meeting of both sides in twelve days and Tommy Wright made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Hamilton Accies on Wednesday evening. Murray Davidson, David Wotherspoon and Chris Kane came in for Ross Callachan, Michael O’Halloran and Tony Watt. Brendan Rodgers made two changes to the side that defeated Hibernian 2-0 in midweek as Jonny Hayes and James Forrest came in for Emilio Izaguirre and Timothy Weah.
Matty Kennedy got the game underway for Saints however, it was a disappointing start for Saints as they were behind after 3 minutes. Oliver Burke broke into the Saints box with the ball before sending a low ball across goal picking out Scott Sinclair who knocked it home from a tight angle.
Saints disappointing start to the match continued as they found themselves two down after 9 minutes. A loose ball was picked up by Scott Brown 30 yards from goal and the Celtic captain unleashed a fizzing strike into the top corner of the net that gave Zander Clark no chance to double the lead for the reigning Scottish Cup holders.
Celtic went onto dominate play however, Saints created a chance to pull a goal back on 31 minutes. Good pressing by Saints saw them win and the ball and Richard Foster broke down the right before cutting it back to Chris Kane. The Saints striker had a shot at goal which was palmed behind for a corner by Scott Bain.
Then 3 minutes later Celtic created a good chance to further extend their score line as Burke and James Forrest linked up down the right. The ball was played into the feet of Burke who got to the bye-line before cutting the ball back across the face of goal although luckily for Saints no one was there to convert as Saints cleared the danger.
Just before half time Saints forced several corners however, they couldn’t take advantage as the home defence comfortably dealt with the danger.
Saints made a change before the second half got underway as Tony Watt came on for Sean Goss. Celtic also made a change as Jozo Simunovic remained in the dressing room and he was replaced by Kristoffer Ajer.
Saints started the second half brightly as they were playing a good pressing game. However, they were almost hit on the counter attack on 51 minutes as a flick on sent Burke bursting through the Saints defence and the on-loan West Bromwich Albion attacker was in on goal but Clark made a good save to keep the score at two.
However, a minute later Celtic did get their third of the afternoon. Jonny Hayes went on a mazy run through the middle of the park. The former Aberdeen man then squared the ball to Forrest who made no mistake as he coolly slotted the ball past Clark.
Then 2 minutes later it got worse for Saints as Celtic made it four. A neat flick on from Forrest sent Burke bursting down the left and he crossed the ball into the box for Sinclair to slot home from close range for his second of the afternoon.
It was almost five for the hosts on 56 minutes however, Ryan Christie couldn’t get his header on target.
On the hour mark Saints made their second change of the afternoon as Matty Kennedy made way for Niall Keown, who was making his first appearance for Saints after joining on loan from Partick Thistle last month.
Celtic went onto dominate the half however, on 77 minutes Saints did create a half chance as David Wotherspoon cut in from the left and had a shot at goal. However, his curling effort didn’t trouble Scott Bain in the Celtic goal.
With a minute of normal time remaining Celtic made it five as Sinclair completed his hat-trick. Good passing between Forrest and Édouard saw the ball squared to Sinclair. The midfielder took a touch before calmly slotting past Clark to cap off a poor afternoon for Saints.
Celtic: Bain, Toljan, Simunovic (Ajer 45), Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Christie (Édouard 62), Boyata, Burke (Weah 67), McGregor, Forrest
Unused Substitutes: Gordon (GK), Bitton, Lustig, Johnston
Scorers: Sinclair (3, 54, 89), Brown (9), Forrest (52)
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson (Callachan 68), Kane, Wotherspoon, Kerr, Foster, Craig, Goss (Watt 45), Kennedy (Keown 60)
Unused Substitutes: Bell (GK), Alston, Swanson, O’Halloran
Referee: Nick Walsh
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Matty Kennedy shields the ball from Jeremy Toljan
©Copyright 2016 - all rights reserved by St Johnstone Football Club
Registered in Scotland 7629
Unless otherwise stated all photographs on this site are ©Perthshire Picture Agency and may not be used without permission.