Sunday 7th October
James Forrest scored four goals during the first half as Saints were beaten 6-0 by Celtic at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.
Forrest opened the scoring for the visitors on 15 minutes when he converted the rebound after the initial shot from Odsonne Edouard had been saved by Zander Clark.
Odsonne Edouard had the Glasgow side 2-0 up on 22 minutes when he smashed a low shot into the corner of the net. On the half hour mark Forrest got his second and Celtic’s third before the winger completed his hat-trick on 38 minutes.
The Scotland Internationalist then got his fourth of the afternoon and Celtic’s fifth right on half time as he broke forward down the left before cutting in to finish off an impressive first half for the visitors.
Saints were reduced to ten men 4 minutes into the second half as referee Kevin Clancy sent off Danny Swanson for a poor challenge on James Forrest.
Callum McGregor then scored a sixth for Celtic late on when he connected with a Mikael Lustig cutback to calmly slot the ball past Zander Clark.
Saints welcomed Brendan Rodgers and his Celtic team to McDiarmid Park for the second time in just 11 days this afternoon. Last time out Celtic grabbed a 1-0 win over Saints in the Betfred Cup, so Tommy Wright’s side were looking to replicate the performance but with a different outcome this time round. The Saints’ manager made 2 changes, to the team who played in the capital last Saturday as he brought Danny Swanson and David Wotherspoon in to replace Chris Kane and Matty Kennedy, who both dropped to the bench.
Saints got the game underway
Saints were the first to try their shot at goal. In the first 4 minutes an array of throw ins down by the corner flag let Blair Alston wiggle his way through the three defenders surrounding him. The Saints midfielder then played in a great ball picking out an advancing Danny Swanson whose powerful shot was saved by the strong wrists of Craig Gordon, Celtic were then able to clear the danger.
Celtic then tried their hand, a pass left by Ross Callachan found its way to Olivier Ntcham, he found James Forrest flying down the right and his cross was parried away by Zander Clark, a blasted shot from outside of the area was turned past the post by Clark again. The resultant corner came to nothing. Some slack play down the right for Saints allowed Callum McGregor to find his way into the box, his cut back was struck well by Leigh Griffiths and Clark was again at his best.
James Forrest dealt the inevitable first blow for Celtic on the 15 minute mark. Scott Tanser lost his footing just before the half way line and Forrest took the ball and ran at goal, slipping through Odsonne Edouard, again, Clark was able to save but the ball was put back into the danger zone and Forrest made no mistake to convert for the Champions.
Another fantastic fingertip save by Clark kept the goal deficit to only one. The ball fell to Edouard and he was able to run through on goal, his shot was excellently saved by Zander Clark between the sticks but just moments later the Celtic striker doubled the visitors lead as the ball broke to the Frenchman in a similar area and this time he made no mistake.
With 30 minutes on the clock James Forrest doubled his goal tally, Kevin Clancy played advantage after a foul on Ntcham in the middle of the park. Some great one touch passing between Forrest and Tom Rogic let the Australian internationalist put Forrest through on goal and he slotted neatly past Clark.
James Forrest got his hat-trick with just 7 minutes of first half play left. Some poor defending again from Saints let Leigh Griffiths play a simple ball right through the middle of the Saints’ defence and Forrest showed that he was definitely wearing his shooting boots as he tucked the ball past Clark.
With moments of the first half remaining the one-way traffic continued. Once again Forrest netted his fourth and Celtic’s fifth with the Saints defence again being sliced open. When Rogic’s pass fell to the attacker he cut onto his left-foot and perfectly fired the ball into the corner of Clark’s net.
Celtic got the second 45 underway.
A bad day at the office got even worse for Saints as 4 minutes into the second half Danny Swanson was shown a straight red card by Kevin Clancy for a high challenge on James Forrest.
With Celtic in complete control of the game it was a rather quieter second half. However, Callum McGregor wrapped up a quite outstanding display for the visitors on 84 minute as some neat passing in and around the area by Celtic saw Mikael Lustig cut the ball back to McGregor who slotted home the visitors sixth of the afternoon.
After a rampant first half from the Champions it was the Glasgow side who went home with all three points. Saints will be very disappointed with their first half performance but showed character in the second to keep the score line as it was at the end of the first half for as long as possible. Next up for Saints is a trip to Fir Park to face Motherwell after the international break who sit 2 points behind the Perth men in 10th.
Saints: Clark, Tanser, Alston, Shaughnessy, Foster (Anderson 45), Wright, Wotherspoon (Craig 78), Callachan, Swanson, Kerr, McMillan (Kane 65)
Unused Substitutes: Hurst (GK), Nydam, Watt, Kennedy
Booked: Wotherspoon, Anderson
Sent Off: Swanson
Celtic: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Benković (Simunovic 61), Tierney, McGregor, Rogic (Morgan 69), Ntcham, Forrest, Edouard, Griffiths (Sinclair 61)
Unused Substitutes: Bain (GK), Mulumbu, Christie, Izaguirre
Scorers: Forrest (15,30,38,45), Edouard (22) McGregor (84)
Referee: Kevin Clancy
Match report by Hannah Klatschak
Picture: David McMillan battles with Dedryck Boyata
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