Can Celtic negotiate St Mirren to keep dreams of a treble alive?

Celtic take a break from league action this weekend as the Hoops play host to St Mirren in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup.  The visitors are the only side to have beaten Celtic in domestic football so far this season and will be hoping they can repeat that trick on Saturday evening.

After securing a League and League Cup double last season, Ange Postecoglou takes his next step towards claiming a full house of domestic honours as he prepares his side for the visit of St Mirren in the Scottish Cup.

Having dispatched of Championship outfit Greenock Morton 5-0 in the last round, Celtic face an altogether sterner opposition in St Mirren this time out.

Back in September, and in the middle of Celtic’s Champions League campaign, the Buddies inflicted a shock defeat on Celtic at St Mirren Park.  The Celtic defence, minus the talents of Carter-Vickers and Starfelt, struggled to cope with St Mirren’s physical frontline and aerial threat, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat.

Since then, Celtic have embarked on a 21-game unbeaten run and vanquished the memories of that disappointing afternoon in September just three weeks ago as the Hoops ran out comfortable 4-0 winners in the most recent encounter of the two sides.

Goals from Liel Abada, Kyogo (2), and a late David Turnbull strike secured all three points on that occasion and a similar result tomorrow would see Celtic take another step on the journey to a potential treble.


When Celtic lost at St. Mirren earlier in the season, much was made of Ange’s team selection for the game and his decision to make 6 changes from the side that had drawn 1-1 in midweek against Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw.

Ralston and Welsh replaced Juranovic and Carter-Vickers at the back; Abada and Maeda came in for Jota and Hakšabanović up front; while David Turnbull started in place of Matt O’Riley in midfield alongside Callum McGregor and Aaron Mooy who also replaced Reo Hatate in the starting eleven.

The Australian had barely featured up to that point, playing just 229 minutes across 8 substitute and 1 starting appearances – the equivalent of just over 2.5 games – and was subbed off at half-time for Hatate.

Had he faded into obscurity after that performance few would have noticed.

Thankfully, like the Celtic team as a whole, Mooy has grown game-by-game since the defeat at St Mirren and now finds himself as a key component to Celtic’s excellent post World Cup form.

If Mooy’s output in his first 9 games was negligible, the Sydney born midfield maestro has been irrepressible in his last 9 appearances, contributing a goal or assist every 85 minutes he’s been on the park (6 goals and 1 assist).

From afterthought to starring role in the team, Aaron, Aaron Mooy’s transformation has been a joy to watch.


Despite haven fallen foul to St Mirren once already this season after ringing the changes to the starting line-up, the pre-match discussion on Friday’s extended A Celtic State of Mind bulletin naturally gravitated towards whether Ange would shake things up for the Cup tie.

Jim Orr was of the opinion that this is an ideal game to make a few changes and get minutes into the legs of some of the fringe players like Hakšabanović, Turnbull, and Oh.  But, while Jim would like to see 4 or 5 changes, he believes that Ange will limit this to 2 or 3.

Brian Degning, on the other hand, took an opposing view that the best approach would be to go with the strongest available starting line-up, including Turnbull in for Hatate, before introducing subs earlier if Celtic are in front.

While the gents agreed on David Turnbull’s possible inclusion in the team, Laura Bradburn made an interest comment that perhaps, with the advent of the 5-sub ruling, David Turnbull’s role in the team has evolved into being an effective sub rather than a starter.  The kind of player who has the qualities to help see games through when called upon.

Only a fool would second guess how Ange will line the team up for this one, so, naturally, here’s my 11 for the game.

Kevin McCluskie

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