Celtic 0-0 Saints
First Team

Celtic 0-0 Saints

26th August 2023

Celtic 0-0 Saints

Saints put in a brilliant defensive performance at Celtic Park this afternoon as they earned a deserved point against Celtic.

The Bhoys dominated possession but they found Dimitar Mitov in top form as the Bulgarian produced several excellent saves to deny the Champions.

Despite being under the chose for large spells Saints created a couple of chances to win it. James Brown played in Dara Costelloe mid-way through the second half but Joe Hart produced a strong one-handed save to deny the on-loan Burnley forward a goal on his debut. Then with 7 minutes remaining Graham Carey’s through ball set Stevie May free on the counter however, Hart made a another important block as both sides settled for a share of the spoils.

Next up for Saints is a home game against Dundee next Saturday, kick off 3pm.


After having a free weekend last week Saints returned to action this afternoon as they travelled to Glasgow to take on Celtic. Saints lost 2-0 to Ross County a fortnight ago and manager Steven MacLean made four changes to his starting eleven this afternoon. Liam Gordon, Stevie May and Cammy Ballantyne all dropped to the bench whilst Ryan McGowan missed out completely and they were replaced by Luke Jephcott whilst new signings Luke Robinson, Jay Turner-Cooke and Dara Costelloe all made their debuts. Celtic lost their grip of the Viaplay Cup last weekend as they were eliminated from the competition following a 1-0 defeat at Kilmarnock and manager Brendan Rodgers also made four changes to his starting eleven. Alistair Johnston, Liam Scales, Hyunjun Yang and David Turnbull came in to replace Anthony Ralston, Odin Thiago Holm and Liel Abada who all dropped to the bench whilst Maik Nawrocki missed out completely.  

Matt O’Riley got the match underway for Celtic and the midfielder got the first chance of the match on 8 minutes as he was played in by a good through ball however, the danger was cleared by Sam McClelland. Then on 11 minutes Alistair Johnston played in Kyogo however, the Japanese forward put his first-time effort from 15 yards narrowly wide.

Celtic were creating the better chances and on 14 minutes a David Turnbull corner from the left was met by O’Riley but Dimitar Mitov made a brilliant save and the Bulgarian keeper got up quick to push the ball over the bar for another corner.

PHOTO: Gustaf Lagerbielke closes down Luke Jephcott

Saints were awarded a free kick on 25 minutes following a foul on Graham Carey by Johnston. Carey took the free kick himself and he whipped the ball into the box and it was met by Luke Jephcott at the near post who sent his first-time effort wide.

Celtic though were back on the attack shortly after as a good passing move ended with O’Riley unleashing a strike which was brilliantly blocked by Mitov. The Bhoys created another chance on 28 minutes however, Hyunjun Yang blasted his effort over.

The hosts continued to dominate possession as the first half progressed and just before half time Johnston tried to pick out Kyogo in the box however, Andy Considine got a good head to the ball to take the sting out of it as Mitov gathered.

PHOTO: Oludare Olufunwa and Hyunjun Yang

4 minutes into the second half Celtic came close to the break through as Johnston’s cross from the right was met by O’Riley but Mitov made another brilliant save to deny the Danish midfielder at the near post.

Saints made their first changes of the match on 55 minutes as James Brown and Stevie May came on to replace Oludare Olufunwa and Luke Jephcott.

The hosts continued to press Saints in their own half but they were up against a stubborn Saints defence and on 57 minutes Greg Taylor went for goal as he curled an effort wide.

Saints were forced into another change on 65 minutes as Liam Gordon came on to replace the injured Andy Considine.

With 20 minutes remaining Mitov was called into action again, this time tipping a Sead Hakšabanović effort around the post for a corner.

PHOTO: Dara Costelloe and Liam Scales

After being under so much pressure Saints almost took the lead on 72 minutes. A long ball forward by Brown played in Dara Costelloe and the on-loan Burnley forward flicked the ball over Liam Scales before unleashing a shot at goal however, Joe Hart produced a strong one-handed save as he turned the ball behind for a corner. Matt Smith took the corner as he sent an inviting delivery into the box however, Gordon couldn’t make a clean connection with the ball as Celtic cleared their lines.

Celtic were soon back on the attack and 2 minutes later Kyogo saw his effort saved by Mitov. The Japanese forward got another sight of goal with 11 minutes remaining as he got on the end of a cross from substitute James Forrest however, he couldn’t test Mitov as his effort went wide.  

Steven MacLean brought on another fresh pair of legs with 8 minutes remaining as Cammy MacPherson replaced Jay Turner-Cooke.

Saints then almost snatched an unlikely lead on 83 minutes. Carey played a great ball forward to play in May on the counter attack and the Saints forward burst into the Celtic box before seeing his effort saved by Hart. The loose ball then broke Carey however, he sent his rebound effort over.

PHOTO: Stevie May's shot is saved by Joe Hart

Play quickly switched to the other end as a minute later Anthony Ralston’s cross was met by Forrest but his header didn’t trouble Mitov as it sailed over. The Champions created another chance in the final minute of the ninety but the header Gustaf Lagerbielke went wide of the target.

Deep into the 8 minutes of additional time Lagerbielke slipped the ball to Liel Abada on the edge of the box. The Israeli then moved the ball onto his left foot before unleashing a strike which was straight at Mitov who comfortably gathered the ball as Saints saw the game out to earn their first point of the season.   

PHOTO: Dimitar Mitov applauds the travelling Saints fans at full time

Celtic: Hart, Johnston (Ralston 60’), Taylor (Bernabei 75’), Lagerbielke, Scales, Furuhashi, Yang (Forrest 68’), Turnbull (Hakšabanović 60’), O’Riley, Maeda (Abada 60’), McGregor

Unused Substitutes: Bain (GK), Holm, Kwon, Iwata

Booked: O’Riley

Saints: Mitov, Considine (Gordon 65’), Carey, Jephcott (May 55’), Olufunwa (Brown 55’), McClelland, Robinson, Smith, Turner-Cooke (MacPherson 82’), Phillips, Costelloe

Unused Substitutes: Richards (GK), Gallacher, Kane, Kucheriavyi, Ballantyne

Booked: McClelland, Brown, MacPherson

Referee: Matthew MacDermid

VAR: Andrew Dallas

Attendance: 58,600

Match Report by Daryl Scott

Picture: Dimitar Mitov tells his team mates to calm down

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