St Mirren boss Jim Goodwin just can’t get enough of Celtic it seems.

The former Hoops academy graduate has his first job in the Premiership after achieving some fine work with Alloa Athletic. Goodwin comes into the Boxing Day clash against the Hoops with his team sitting ninth and one point clear of the relegation playoffs.

It couldn’t be any more different at Celtic Park. Five points clear at the top, on an 11-game winning-run in the league, and looking unstoppable all over the pitch.

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Celtic are going from strength to strength this season (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Goodwin hasn’t been interested in talking down our quality either. Speaking in the Gazette, the Buddies manager simply can’t praise the Hoops enough.

“Celtic are a brilliant team with plenty of international players in their squad. If Neil decides he can freshen things up, then he can bring in a similar level of player. They are on a brilliant run right now. We know how difficult this game will be.

“The impressive thing for me of late is that they probably haven’t been playing brilliantly. But they have still been able to grind out a win and find a way to win.

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“It’s not always pretty. But you just grind out the result and I think Celtic have done that, the cup final being a huge example of that. The fact they score from everywhere helps. They have got an unbelievable group of players and we need to be at it.”

Goodwin simply telling it like it is

It’s refreshing to hear a rival manager talk up the talent we have at Parkhead. Unfortunately for his St Mirren side, he isn’t wrong either.

Celtic take the trip to Paisley on Thursday (Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

Odsonne Edouard, James Forrest, and Ryan Christie are widely considered to be our best three attacking outlets. Their numbers this season are just incredible too. Eddy has 15 goals and 13 assists. Forrest has 13 and 16, whilst Christie has 17 and 13 respectively (Transfermarkt).

That’s scary stuff for St Mirren. Considering their top scorer is Jonathan Obika on five goals, it shows the absolute chasm that exists between the sides (BBC).

Goodwin does have some reasons to be hopeful of course. His side kept us down to a 2-0 win back in October at Celtic Park. It took us until the second half to break down the Buddies in that one.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is looking for win number 12 on the bounce (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

We were also held to a 0-0 draw in Paisley last season, although at least five of the starting XI in that team won’t be involved. Three are no longer even at the club.

Like any Premiership manager welcoming Celtic, Goodwin will just be hopeful that we have an off-day. If we do, then the game opens itself up to other possibilities. If we don’t, there’s not a single thing St Mirren can do about it. Goodwin’s comments pretty much confirm that.

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