Saints 1-2 Celtic
14th February 2021
A quick-fire double from Odsonne Édouard saw Celtic fight back to defeat Saints 2-1 in Perth this afternoon.
Saints started the match brightly but the visitors quickly took a hold of the game. Neil Lennon’s side very nearly took the lead just after the half an hour mark as Tom Rogic saw his effort cleared off the line by Callum Booth.
Saints took the lead 5 minutes into the second half as Shaun Rooney got his third goal in six games as he bulleted a powerful header past Scott Bain.
Celtic though fought back and were on level terms on the hour mark as Édouard converted a Ryan Christie cross. Then 2 minutes later the Hoops were ahead as Édouard got on the end of Greg Taylor’s ball into the box and the Frenchman took a couple of touches before firing it past Zander Clark to seal the points for the Glasgow side.
Next up for Saints is a trip to Motherwell next Saturday, kick off 3pm.
The Sky Sports cameras were in town this lunchtime as Saints welcomed Celtic to McDiarmid Park for a Scottish Premiership match. Saints brought Livingston’s fourteen game unbeaten run to an end last weekend as they defeated the West Lothian side 2-1 at the Tony Macaroni Arena. Callum Davidson made three changes to his side for today’s match as Callum Booth, Craig Bryson and Craig Conway came into the starting eleven to replace Scott Tanser, Liam Craig and Guy Melamed. Celtic won 4-0 at St Mirren in midweek and manager Neil Lennon made two changes to his team as Stephen Welsh and Albian Ajeti dropped out to be replaced by Shane Duffy and Ryan Christie.
David Wotherspoon got the match underway for Saints and Callum Davidson’s side made a steady start to the match showing their intent early on.
Odsonne Édouard won Celtic the first corner of the match on 7 minutes as Liam Gordon was forced to turn the ball behind. Saints could only partially clear the delivery from David Turnbull and the ball broke to Kristoffer Ajer but he put his effort well over.
Then a minute later play switched to the other end as Wotherspoon put an effort over from 25 yards.
Just before the 20 minute mark Callum Booth was penalised for a sliding tackle on Ryan Christie out wide on the left. Turnbull whipped the resultant free kick into the Saints box and Shane Duffy got to the ball before Zander Clark but the on-loan Brighton and Hove Albion defender put his header over.
The visitors were now controlling the game and on 31 minutes a good swift move by the Hoops saw a long ball forward play in Édouard. The Frenchman broke into the Saints box before cutting the ball back across goal picking out Tom Rogic at the back post and the midfielder unleashed at shot at goal but Booth got back to clear the effort off the line.
A minute later Greg Taylor had a shot at goal from distance which didn’t trouble Clark. Then on 34 minutes Turnbull put an effort over as Celtic continued to pile the pressure on Saints.
The visitors were now dominating possession and 2 minutes later Clark got down well to save an angled shot from Christie.
Saints though weathered the storm and came back into the match in the final 5 minutes of the half as finished goalless.
It was an encouraging start to the second half by Saints as on 46 minutes McCann got an early shot at goal but his effort from distance didn’t trouble Scott Bain. Then 2 minutes later Rooney sent a great cross into the box from the right, picking out Craig Conway in the six-yard box however, the midfielder couldn’t get his shot away as Celtic cleared the danger.
Saints were rewarded for their positive start to the half as they took the lead on 50 minutes. David Wotherspoon cut the ball back to Booth and he delivered a brilliant cross into the box picking out Shaun Rooney who planted a fantastic header past Bain to put Saints ahead.
The visitors though responded and were back on level terms 10 minutes later. A good move by the Hoops saw Christie break to the byline before crossing into danger and his delivery was met by Édouard who turned the ball in from close range at the near post.
Then 2 minutes later Celtic were ahead. Turnbull sent a good ball out wide to the on-rushing Taylor and his delivery across the box picked out Édouard who twisted and turned in the six-yard box before slotting the ball past Clark.
On 68 minutes a good move by Saints saw Wotherspoon play the ball out wide to Booth and he sent another good cross into the box and it looked like Kane had got the better of Shane Duffy but the defender was able to recovery to block the striker’s shot.
Looking to get the leveller Saints then made a double change on 70 minutes as Glenn Middleton and Stevie May came on to replace Craig Conway and Chris Kane.
The visitors also freshened things up as they brought on Mo Elyounoussi and Leigh Griffiths as they replaced David Turnbull and Tom Rogic.
Saints continued to press for the equaliser and with 7 minutes remaining Michael O’Halloran was introduced into the action, replacing Jason Kerr as Saints changed formation, going to back four. However, despite forcing a series of corners late on they couldn’t find the all-important equaliser as Celtic left Perth with all 3 points.
Saints: Clark, Rooney, Gordon, Kerr (O’Halloran 83), McCart, Booth, McCann, Bryson, Conway (Middleton 70), Wotherspoon, Kane (May 70)
Unused Substitutes: Parish (GK), Craig, Brown, Melamed, Gilmour
Scorer: Rooney (50)
Celtic: Bain, Taylor, Duffy, Brown, Turnbull (Elyounoussi 76), Kenny, Christie, Rogic (Griffiths 76), Édouard, Ajer, McGregor
Unused Substitutes: Barkas (GK), Ajeti, Klimala, Soro, Johnston, Ralston, Laxalt
Booked: Turnbull, Christie
Scorers: Édouard (60, 62)
Referee: Steven McLean
Match Report by Daryl Scott
Picture: Shaun Rooney heads Saints into the lead