St Mirren centre-back Conor McCarthy has been reflecting on his “strange” visit to Celtic Park, as he hailed the Hoops’ quality.

McCarthy was part of Jim Goodwin’s Buddies side that were ripped apart by the Hoops in our last game before football in Scotland shut down. The ongoing global health crisis meant that neither side was able to react to the result, leaving McCarthy’s Saints time to look back on the game.

Indeed, it was a bruising affair. 5-0 was kind on the Saints, with Leigh Griffiths bagging a hat-trick to add to goals from Odsonne Edouard and Callum McGregor. Edouard missed several opportunities to add to the scoreline, whilst St Mirren goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky actually had a good game.

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Conor McCarthy playing for Cork City

Conor McCarthy playing for Cork City (Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

It’s fair to say that McCarthy was blown away by the quality of the Hoops too. Speaking in comments published by The 42, the Irish centre-back was full of praise for Neil Lennon’s men.

“It was strange going to Celtic knowing that you weren’t expected to get anything from the game. At my previous club we were always kind of at the top of the table fighting for leagues and stuff. It was a strange feeling how the tables are turned.

“One minute you are fighting for leagues in Ireland and then in a couple of months, you see that these lads are away ahead of you. They showed that is the level you need to get to. I watched the game back and there was stuff that the Celtic players did that I can take into my game. It was a tough watch, I am not going to lie but these are the things you need to do.

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“There is no doubt that Celtic are the best team in the league and the quality of player was at a different level. There is no point in not looking at the game, you have to learn, that is the only way you are going to improve.”

McCarthy had nothing to be ashamed of

McCarthy is only one of every single defender in Scotland who wouldn’t be able to handle Celtic in that sort of form. It’s well-known that when we’re on our game, we’ll blow teams away. That’s just the nature of the beast. Saints caught us on a very, very good afternoon.

He also had to deal with the in-form duo of Griffiths and Edouard. Coming up against that specific strike pairing at the moment is a recipe for disaster. When one doesn’t score, the other almost certainly will. Between them, they’ve bagged 19 goals since returning from the winter break.

As for McCarthy, he’ll be satisfied with how he’s started life in Scotland. He impressed at Ibrox in particular, where he should’ve nodded home a late equaliser in a 1-0 defeat. However, his performances have helped boost the Buddies up to ninth in the table. As things stand, they’re six points clear of bottom.

Leigh Griffiths celebrates his hat-trick vs St Mirren

Leigh Griffiths celebrates his hat-trick vs St Mirren (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

It would’ve been interesting to see how their loss at Parkhead affected them of course. Yet it’s worth remembering that Celtic have given so many teams batterings at home this season.

Celtic have beaten St Mirren, Hamilton, Hearts, Ross County, and St Johnstone by either five goals or more at Parkhead. Our home form has been brilliant once again, outside of December’s defeat to Rangers.

You won’t find many disagreeing with McCarthy either. Results like that 5-0 mauling are exactly why we’re the best Scotland has to offer.

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