St Johnstone 1-2 Celtic – The unusual comes at no extra cost with Celtic

The unusual, they say, comes at no extra cost with Celtic. Neither do the emotions nor the passions! In added-on time we plumbed the depths, soared to the sublime and then by the time we were halfway home, we settled down and although still happy with the result, we began to realise the deficiencies of the team, not least in their inability to kill off St Johnstone so that the late, late drama need not have happened.

But to begin at the beginning, it was a lovely autumn day in the Fair City of Perth, the home of St Johnstone, a nice team (normally) with a fine ground and civilised supporters (well, most of them). In particular, one must commend the way that they organise the arrangements for away supporters with a separate entrance and exit straight on to the motorway. Barriers were deployed to allow each row of minibuses and buses to leave in order – and all in all, the Emirates Car Park and Celtic FC would do well to take a trip to Perth to see how they do it. There remains no excuse for the mayhem and inordinate delay that we have to suffer at Celtic Park on matchdays.

We missed Callum McGregor. That was always likely to be the case, and it appears it may be near Christmas before we see him again. But nevertheless the team had an excellent first half with one own goal scant reward for their efforts. The same was true for most of the second half with several offside calls going against them, but then, almost fatally, Celtic allowed St Johnstone back into the game, falling back and crucially, when the defence did win the ball, they failed to bring it forward and keep it in the St Johnstone half.

St Johnstone missed an absolute sitter when the ball was blazed over the bar – and that should have been a warning – and then inflicting intense agony on us, as we thought, scoring in added on time. Losing a couple of points would have been no more or no less than what Celtic deserved, but then came the breath taking moment 70 seconds later when a cross from Bernabei (who had seemed to be tiring later in the game) found Giakoumakis who did what all good strikers do. It may well be a moment that we will talk about at the end of the season in the context of how the League was won (or lost).

Our best player was, by some distance, Sead Haksabanovic. But there were also good performances from Cameron Carter-Vickers (welcome back, CCV!), Anthony Ralston, Reo Hatate and Jota (whose absence in the second half does not, I hope, betoken an injury – we have had enough of them!). Of the others, no-one had a real shocker, but there were one or two inconsistent performances. The attitude remains right, and we saw enough of Jamesie Forrest to make us think that we should see a little more of him.

So where does this leave us in the context of Tuesday night? The alternatives are stark. We either win or we are probably out of Europe for another season. But at least this afternoon, there was a fight to the end which we didn’t see against Leipzig on Wednesday.

And having said a few nice things about St Johnstone at the start, I must point out that in spite of giving Celtic two ends and a bit of the Main Stand, there were still many empty seats! Wise up, Saints! Put all the home support into one Stand, and give Celtic the rest! It is a shame that so many Celtic fans were in pubs and at home watching the game, when they could have been giving you more money!

David Potter

About Author

I am Celtic author and historian and write for The Celtic Star. I live in Kirkcaldy and have followed Celtic all my life, having seen them first at Dundee in March 1958. I am a retired teacher and my other interests are cricket, drama and the poetry of Robert Burns.

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