After being swept aside 2-0 at Parkhead on Wednesday night, Liam Craig has warned Celtic about a “braver” St Johnstone on Sunday.
The Saints meet the Hoops for the second time in four days at McDiarmid Park this weekend. It’s the second of three clashes between the pair in the space of 11 days. Their third will be a meeting in the Scottish Cup in Glasgow next Sunday.
According to The Courier, Craig doesn’t expect the same insipid attacking display Tommy Wright’s men mustered at Parkhead. The Saints failed to trouble Scott Bain, who’ll be looking to make it 10 consecutive individual clean sheets this Sunday.
And, speaking to The Courier ahead of the game, Craig expects a reaction.
“Whenever we have gone to Celtic Park in the past and got results, we have used the ball well. But we didn’t do it well enough on Wednesday night.
“We went there with Mikey (O’Halloran) up top and Swanny (Danny Swanson) supporting him. We wanted to get them on the ball but we didn’t pass it well enough.
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“We huffed and puffed and weren’t a threat going forward so we need to dust ourselves down and be better on Sunday if we are to get anything. We have players in the squad who can cause Celtic problems but if we are going to get something we will need to be braver.”
An honest assessment
It’s difficult to disagree with anything Craig has come out with here. On their day, Saints have proved they can cause Celtic problems – but only when the Hoops under-perform themselves.
To be fair to Wright’s men, they did try to play plenty of passing football at Parkhead. But when it reached former Rangers striker Michael O’Halloran, Kris Ajer and Jozo Simunovic bullied him around.
Celtic can’t take anything for granted on Sunday. This is a fixture that can tend to surprise, and St Johnstone are always likely to punish you if you’re not at 100%.
But with the wave of momentum riding through Parkhead at the moment, here’s hoping it’s as routine as possible.