Saints 0-4 Celtic

Saturday 4th November

Saints this lunchtime lost 4-0 to Celtic at McDiarmid Park as the visitors set a new British and club record of 63 consecutive games unbeaten.

The Bhoys took the lead on 28 minutes when Scott Sinclair smashed the ball high into the net from a Stuart Armstrong corner.

The visitors dominated possession and they doubled their advantage on 72 minutes when Moussa Dembele converted a Stuart Armstrong cross from close range before an own goal by Steven Anderson 3 minutes later put the result beyond doubt. Then with a minute remaining Olivier Ntcham finished off another good passing move by the champions from 20 yards to seal a record-breaking result for the Glasgow side.

MATCH REPORT

Saints welcomed champions Celtic to McDiarmid Park this lunchtime as the Glasgow side looked to break a 100-year-old British and club record run of 62 domestic games without defeat. Saints, who were the last Scottish side to defeat Celtic, made four changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Partick Thistle last Saturday. Out went Murray Davidson, Brian Easton, Liam Craig and Graham Cummins and they were replaced by Scott Tanser, Blair Alston, Steven MacLean and Richard Foster. Whilst Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers chose to go with the same team that lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League.

Before the match got underway a minutes silence was held ahead of Remembrance Sunday next week.

It was Celtic who got the match underway in the lovely Perthshire sunshine and they created the first chance of the match on 5 minutes as James Forrest had a shot at goal which was easily held by Zander Clark. Then 2 minutes later Moussa Dembele tested Clark with a curling effort that was again held by the Saints keeper.

The visitors kept pressing and on 15 minutes Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele linked up well on the edge of the area before the former broke into the box but Clark was quick off his line to block the effort by the midfielder. Then 5 minutes later Forrest linked up well with Callum McGregor on the edge of the box. The ball then broke to Sinclair whose powerful strike was saved by Clark.

Saints created a half chance on 21 minutes as Blair Alston brilliantly won the ball off Mikael Lustig on the edge of the area. Stefan Scougall then went to challenge for the loose ball in the box but Craig Gordon was out quick to clear the danger.

On 27 minutes Paul Paton did well to beat Dedryck Boyata to a Stuart Armstrong cross as the midfielder turned it behind for a corner. However, from the corner the visitors took the lead as Armstrong played a low ball to Sinclair who smashed a shot from the centre of the box beyond Clark and high into the net.

Now with a goal advantage the Glasgow side went in search of more and on 32 minutes Clark tipped a Armstrong shot behind for a corner. Then 3 minutes later McGregor saw his curling strike go wide of Clark’s goal.

Despite Celtic dominating possession Saints were awarded a free kick on 38 minutes in an inviting position. It was taken by Alston whose 35-yard effort was almost spilled by Gordon but the Scotland Internationalist recovered well to hold the ball.

Celtic created their first chance of the second half on 50 minutes as Kieran Tierney saw his strike spilled by Clark at his near post but the Saints keeper recovered quickly to gather the ball. Then a minute later a 25-yard strike by McGregor was spilled by Clark before the danger was cleared by Steven Anderson.

The visitors were dominating possession again and on 53 minutes Joe Shaughnessy did well to deflect a Forrest effort behind for a corner. Armstrong took the resultant corner and his delivery into the box found Boyata who rose to power a header goal wards that was brilliantly cleared off the line by Aaron Comrie as the young defender knocked the ball up onto the bar before clearing the danger.

Saints created a half chance on 69 minutes as Steven MacLean crossed the ball from the left into the box which found the head of Richard Foster who put his effort wide. Then a minute later Foster turned provider as he knocked the ball down to MacLean but the Saints striker scuffed his effort wide.

Celtic doubled their advantage on 72 minutes as Dembele did well to turn Anderson before setting Tierney free who then broke down the left. The French striker then got in a good position to finish from close range after the overlapping Armstrong had fired the ball into the six-yard box.

The visitors then made it 3 on 75 minutes as Dembele skipped past Comrie in the box and then sent the ball across the face of the Saints goal to Sinclair before seeing the ball hit off Anderson and trundle over the line.

The champions were still not finished and they again showed their class on 89 minutes as Olivier Ntcham netted from 20 yards after another good passing move to seal a record-breaking result.

Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Anderson, MacLean, Wotherspoon (Craig 68), Comrie, Paton, Foster (McClean 76), Scougall (O’Halloran 58)

Unused Substitutes: Mannus (GK), Johnstone, Gordon, Cummins

Booked: Paton, Wotherspoon

Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Bitton, Tierney, Forrest (Hayes 77), Brown, McGregor (Rogic 60), Armstrong (Ntcham 75), Sinclair, Dembele

Unused Substitutes: de Vries (GK), Gamboa, Ajer, Edouard

Booked: None

Scorers: Sinclair (28), Dembele (72), Anderson (75 OG), Ntcham (89)

Referee: Bobby Madden

Attendance: 6,800

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: David Wotherspoon challenges Nir Bitton for the ball