Celtic had to come back from a goal down to defeat Craig Levein’s St Johnstone side at McDiarmid Park earlier today.
It was a lacklustre first-half display that saw St Johnstone take control of the game with Celtic lacking any creativity or urgency.
Brendan Rodgers stated to the media following the game that it was, “The angriest I’ve ever been at half-time in my career as a manager,” and that is understandable given how frustrating the first-half was. Whatever he said, or shouted, at the team during the half-time break must have worked as the Celts responded in tremendous fashion in the second-half.
Some cracking goals from Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley as well as a goal deep into stoppage time from James Forrest was enough to see Celtic through in the second-half, but criticism is most definitely going to come the team’s way after an incredibly disappointing and frustrating first-half performance.
New goalkeeper required
One of the most criticised moments of the performance was the shambolic attempts to defend St Johnstone’s opening goal through Diallang Jaiyesimi.
Joe Hart looks completely hapless for the goal as he doesn’t cover himself in glory, and that isn’t for the first time this season. Celtic’s last three goals conceded domestically have all come from cross-balls and in all of those situations Hart hasn’t looked commanding enough.
It was a position that Celtic had identified as one they were eager to improve in the summer transfer window but they failed to get a deal over the line. With Hart’s contract up at the end of the season and the errors not looking like slowing down, a new goalkeeper should most definitely be on the agenda for Celtic in January.
Get off to a flyer
In a game where the club needed a positive response following two games without a win in all competitions, you would have expected Celtic to come hot out of the blocks with an incredibly fast start. Truth be told, it was the exact opposite.
Celtic were lacking creativity and urgency and they only mustered up one shot on target in the first-half which came from a long distance effort from David Turnbull that wasn’t troubling Dimitar Mitov.
Celtic’s slow start gave the Saints the confidence to come out of their defensive shell and attack them, which ultimately led to the completely avoidable opening goal.
Change of shape next game?
The performances off the bench from Oh Hyeon-gyu, Mikey Johnston, James Forrest and Tomoki Iwata all helped contribute to Celtic’s comeback and victory today and it will be playing on Brendan Rodgers’ mind when he selects his starting XI for Hibs on Wednesday.
Rodgers could look to switch to a 3-5-2 formation to allow Oh and Kyogo Furuhashi to play together whilst perhaps even bringing in Tomoki Iwata into the midfield ahead of David Turnbull who didn’t perform at his best against the Saints.
If Rodgers doesn’t opt to change the shape, one of James Forrest or Mikey Johnston should still definitely come into the team ahead of Yang Hyun-jun.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE