Celtic mauled St Johnstone 3-0 at McDiarmid Park tonight to stay at the top of the table by five points.
An impressive first 45 that contained a truckload of chances meant that Saints would’ve been delighted to have only gotten in having conceded the three by half-time.
It was Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest, and Leigh Griffiths who got the goals that put us in charge. However, Griffiths, Odsonne Edouard, and Callum McGregor all had chances to extend the scoreline at various times in the half.
The performance was a vast improvement from the first 45 against Ross County in which chances were limited. And speaking to the BBC (20:36), Pat Bonner was one of many who was wowed by the opening 45:
“The tempo, the sharpness, the passing, the movement. Everybody is flying today, everybody is looking for the ball and moving it with their one, two-touch passing with real excitement.
“A brilliant performance from Celtic so far.”
A performance of two halves
Celtic almost earned the right to dip off in the second 45. Their first-half display was incredible, with so much movement coming from midfield to front.
With both Ntcham and McGregor supporting Edouard and Griffiths, St Johnstone just couldn’t deal with the energy Celtic brought to the game. In addition to that, the front pairing of Griffiths and Edouard worked a treat. They’re both showing positive signs as their partnership continues to develop. Their clever flicks and passing helped open up space in that first 45.
It’s no wonder that Bonner was so praising of the team at half-time. It was, arguably, our best opening half of the season. The game was effectively won by half-time, and the only surprising aspect was that we didn’t add to the scoreline in the second half.
There was a real tempo drop in the second 45. The passing was sloppier and it allowed St Johnstone to gain some encouragement. Some of the ball retention from the likes of Scott Brown and Christopher Jullien in stages left a lot to be desired.
But it didn’t matter in the end. Celtic had the job done by half-time, and it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that. Not since our 4-0 win at Pittodrie in October have we been 3-0 up or over at the break. It’s not easy to start at such a wicked tempo.
The victory also starts off a run of four successive away games with a positive start. Hopefully, it’s the first of four consecutive wins.