Late goals from Lee Griffiths and Patrick Climala snatched three points from the Scottish Premier League in favor of Celtic after a tough match against St. Johnston.
The Griffiths were brought in on their debut of the season 15 minutes before the end, and headed to break the deadlock in the 90th minute.
Substitute mate Klimala then confirmed the points in depth in stoppage time with a finish at the near post.
The win put Celtic ahead of the Rangers, having both played nine games.
However, Steven Gerrard’s squad can return to the top when they welcome Ross County at 15:00 GMT.
For St. Johnston, it was their fourth consecutive league defeat and they have scored only once in their last seven matches.
Callum Davidson’s side had the best chance in organizational time, Craig Conway smashed a bid against a straight forward, and Perth also had the clearest chance in the opening half hour.
Conway’s swinging ball attracted Vasilis Barkas away from his streak. David Witherspoon came ahead, but he got a lot in his head when he just needed to peek at her into the keeper of the Celtic goalkeeper.
With David Turnbull – in his debut – one of three changes from Thursday’s Europa League win in Bosnia, Celtic had the majority of early possession.
In fact, they would have had an early penalty had referee Nick Welsh spotted Liam Gordon pulling Shane Duffy’s shirt in a corner.
Callum McGregor, then Edward Odson, had slots but St Johnston was closer when Conway shook the post after David Waterspoon took him a superb early cross pass.
That was a wake-up call to Celtic. Turnbull missed a header after MacGregor had picked it up, before Clemala fired the ball at a narrow range and Griffith blocked an attempt to deflect.
However, when the opportunity came in the 90th minute, he made no mistake. Hatem Al Hamid found a cross pass on the Scottish striker, who buried his head in Clark’s goal.
There was still time for Klimala to make the match look a lot more comfortable than it had been, as the Polish striker took on a challenge before taking off into the near corner.
Man of the Match – Lee Griffiths
what did we learn?
Celtic results have been excellent in recent weeks, but they are clearly not performing at their best.
Think back to the start of the year, when they were shooting all cylinders and Griffiths and Edward form a good partnership. Griffiths first appeared for the term here and had a real impact.
This show was an encouragement to Saint Johnston. Although they were on a bad trajectory, they looked confident in the ball and guaranteed to defend themselves, with the three defenders in particular. With a better finish, they could have won the match.
What did they say?
Saint Johnston director Callum Davidson: “I thought the players had performed at a very high level and restricted Celtic to very few changes.
“I’m so frustrated for them more than anything. Celtic offers five super substitutes as they chase the match.”
Celtic coach Neil Lennon: “I think the submarines gave us more urgency. I think the first half wasn’t good enough, the second was better.
“It’s clearly the influence of Scott Brown on the team. You can’t wear any kind of stats he gives.”
After the international break, the big game for Celtic was Old Firm on October 17th. Meanwhile, St Johnston will play two League Cup matches next week – Celtic Hearts on Wednesday and then Brisbane City on Saturday.
- 5CareReplaced withHendryin a 90 + 1 ‘Minutes
- 6GordonBooked in 90 minutes
- 18What was
- 8DavidsonBooked in 68 minutes
- 10WeatherspoonBooked in 19 minutesReplaced withO’Halloranin a 67 ‘Minutes
- 14may be
- 21CryBooked in 13 minutesReplaced withRogicin a 76 ‘Minutes
- 3TaylorReplaced withbrouwnin a 82 ‘Minutes
- 14TurnbullBooked in 49 minutesReplaced withChristiein a 59 ‘Minutes
- 27AlonosiReplaced withGriffithsin a 76 ‘Minutes
- 22EdwardReplaced withWith conditioningin a 59 ‘Minutes
- 11With conditioning
Match ended, St. Johnston 0, Celtic 2.
The second half ends, St. Johnston 0, Celtic 2.
Liam Gordon (Saint Johnston) is shown a yellow card.
Goal! St. Johnston 0, Celtic 2. Patrick Klimala (Celtic) shot with a right foot from the center of the penalty area into the upper right corner. With the help of Shane Duffy.
Replacement, St. Johnston. Callum Hendry replaces Jason Kerr.
Goal! St. Johnston 0, Celtic 1. Lee Griffith (Celtic) header from the middle of the square to the lower right corner. Hatem Al-Hamid assists him with a cross.
Error by Jeremy Frimpong (Celtic).
Stevie May (St. Johnston) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Celtic Corner. Against him is Jimmy McCart.
Attempt is prohibited. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) header is blocked from the middle of the square. With the help of Ryan Christie with a cross.
Jeremy Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Wrong Michael O’Halloran (Saint Johnston).
Error from Callum McGregor (Celtic).
Liam Gordon (St. Johnston) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Missed attempt. Lee Griffith’s (Celtic) left-foot shot from the middle of the penalty area is too high.
Attempt is prohibited. Thomas Rogic’s left-foot shot was blocked outside the box. With the help of Scott Brown.
Offside, Celtic. Scott Brown attempts a through pass, but Lee Griffith is caught offside.
Ryan Christy (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Craig Conway (St. Johnston).
Switch, Celtic. Scott Brown replaces Greg Taylor.
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