St Johnstone 1 Celtic 3 – Probably Liel Abada’s best game for the club

One of the stranger experiences of watching Celtic over the years, but at least it was a win for our depleted team. Give Carl Starfelt his due, he knows how to make a game out of it! St Johnstone were never vaguely in this game until Carl gave them an opportunity which, to be fair, they took well and it was a good goal! Indeed, more or less the only good thing we saw from the Saints today.

 Vasilis Barkas of Celtic is beaten by Chris Kane of St Johnstone header as he makes it 2-1 in the 69th minute

Hitherto Celtic were in total control with the attitude on this occasion being right, and everyone using the ball to good effect. It was probably Liel Abada’s best game for the club and he took his goals well, as indeed did Nir Bitton at the end, but the man of the match was yet again Tom Rogic whose ball control, passing and energy could not really be bettered. Just where would we be without this man this half season? He deserves his break. James McCarthy had not a bad game either, and Josip Juranovic’s part in the first goal was exactly what we missed on Wednesday night

Liel Abada of Celtic makes it 1-0 in the 9th minute

The break has maybe come at a good time for us after all. Goodness knows how many ham string problems we have, but three weeks might just be enough to repair some of them. Kyogu’s injury was and is worrying, but welcome Joey Dawson who might just have scored at the end, and he is certainly worth another go! And welcome back Mr Barkas! Good collection of high balls, but one awful kick out, and also the tendency to pass the ball across the penalty area for which we are going to be heavily punished some day.

Liel Abada of Celtic makes it 2-0 in the 22nd minute

Generally speaking a satisfactory day in the circumstances. The next three weeks however will be important to recover from injuries, recover from Covid and generally to regroup – and that is before we even start talking about transfers! We really have to think seriously about Carl Starfelt, and that is worrying because he seemed to have settled down after a poor start.

It was nice to see and hear the few Celtic supporters outside the ground who showed what the club means to them, but it is really sad to see games played in front of so few St Johnstone supporters, most of whom will have gone home convinced of impending relegation. I appreciate that they were depleted as well, but in the first half and most of the second half, there was not very much there at all. That is a shame for a team that won two trophies in 2021 and has a decent Manager and normally a civilised support.

 Locked out Celtic fans show support from outside the stadium

The pundits were at their annoying worst. James McFadden seemed to want the first goal to be disallowed. To borrow one of your favourite phrases, James “Not for me”. More importantly, nor for Bobby Madden either. Actually, the bald bombshell had not a bad game, although he could have kept his yellow card in his pocket once or twice.

And so we finish 2021. Not a great deal to be happy about in this calendar year – except, of course, last Sunday! 2022 simply has to be better!

David Potter


Thanks to everyone who ordered Harry Hood – Twice as Good for Christmas presents. If you got an Ange jumper instead then why not order this brilliant book by Matt Corr, or indeed David Potter’s biography of another Celtic legend Alec McNair – born on this day incidentally – from Celtic Star Books or from the official Celtic stores?

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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