Celts Out to Settle the Score

Celtic return to the scene of their only league defeat so far this season on Sunday with the visit to St. Mirren Park.  Much has been made of Celtic’s last trip to Paisley, on these pages and elsewhere, when goals from O’Hara and Ayunga put a stop to Celtic’s winning start to the season.

Since then, Celtic has embarked on a 24-game unbeaten run domestically, defeating St. Mirren twice at Celtic Park on that run – by an aggregate of 9-1 – and lifting the first piece of Silverware on offer last Sunday at Hampden Park.

Celtic went into the last meeting of the sides at St. Mirren Park on the back of two successive Champions League games; the 3-0 home defeat to Real Madrid, and the disappointing 1-1 draw with Shakhtar in Warsaw. Our previous domestic fixture had come two weeks earlier, when a Liel Abada inspired Celtic thumped Rangers 4-0 in the opening Glasgow Derby of the season.

In September at St. Mirren Park, Celtic made 6 changes to the side that had drawn in midweek with Donetsk and paid the price.  A mistake that A Celtic State of Mind contributor Paddy Sinat thinks Ange will not allow to happen again.


Judging by the starting line ups Ange has gone with in the two most recent fixtures between the clubs and the importance of maintaining momentum at this stage in the season, it seems unlikely that Ange will rotate away from the largely settled team that has played so well of late.

That, however, does not mean we can write-off St. Mirren.  Stephen Robinson has done a terrific job since taking over from Jim Goodwin 12 months ago.

He is one of the few managers in the Cinch Premiership to swim against the tide of playing ultra-defensive football against Celtic. Instead, the Northern Irishman has found a rare balance of defensive organisation and willingness to commit players in attack that has caused Celtic problems.

Even in the most recent encounter between the sides, the 5-1 Scottish Cup win for Celtic, St. Mirren caused the Hoops problems and were not truly out of the game until Richard Taylor’s 75th minute sending off.

Lighting rarely strikes twice but Celtic may have to Walk Through a Storm in Paisley on Sunday afternoon before seeing the golden sky on the other side.


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