St Johnstone were the victims of great individual play as Celtic came from behind to win 2-1 in Perth.
Shaun Rooney’s header five minutes after the second half restart was St Johnstone’s first goal against Celtic since 2017.
Celtic seemed to run out of ideas in attack but Odsonne Edouard would lead a one-man mission in order to get the Parkhead side ahead and save them from another shock defeat.
While defensively sound, St Johnstone struggled to get up the park on a consistent basis all afternoon as Celtic were camped in their half. That mattered not as they only needed one chance, Callum Booth crossing for Rooney to head home his second goal in as many games.
The Saints were at their usual steely best during this encounter. You had to go back to December 23rd to find the last time St Johnstone had conceded at home prior to Celtic coming to Perth. But that record was broken as Edouard scored his sixth and seventh goals in six games with a fine two-minute double.
Tom Rogic had a chance cleared off the line but overall Celtic would find it hard to break through the Saints resistance. They started with one striker instead of two and this played a factor during a stale opening 45 minutes.
Saints meanwhile had gone for one striker themselves, Guy Melamed dropping to the bench as Chris Kane lead the line himself for the McDiarmid Park club. It helped them defend resolutely throughout, although Celtic were dominating possession, heading into half-time with 66% of it.
A 17-minute spree at the start of the second half had presented three goals and Celtic were ahead after an initially promising start to proceedings for Saints.
The quality of Edouard was the difference, his individual quality sparking Neil Lennon’s side into life after a drab hour of play. His two attempts had lead to two goals and there was little Saints could do to stop the Frenchman.
St Johnstone failed to create any real chances after this spell as Celtic made it 10 consecutive wins in Perth. Here are three things we learned.
When Rooney put St Johnstone ahead in this one, it looked likely that they could at least grind out at least point, given their defensive record at home. But individual quality settled this match.
Edouard was at his best and hit top form to save Celtic’s blushes and deliver a couple of quickfire blows to his opponents.
The loss of Danny McNamara on the right of defence looked to be a big void for Davidson to fill. But Rooney has stepped up to the plate admirably in the last few weeks.
The right-back has now scored three goals in six games and has looked a solid bet for his manager, who has now started him 11 times since December 23rd.
Wait goes on
Given the mood around these two clubs at present, this looked like a great chance for St Johnstone to break their Celtic duck. Scoring their first goal against the Hoops on home soil since 2017 looked like it could get them there.
Current players Zander Clark, Chris Kane, Liam Craig and David Wotherspoon all featured in May 2016 as St Johnstone won 2-1 but a reverse of that at McDiarmid Park was had here.