Pre-match with A Celtic State of Mind – The Saints Are Coming

KEVIN GRAHAM:

Rightly or wrongly, my main worry, or doubt, about Celtic this season is the games that seem unattractive. I have no worries about the big games but my mind seems to suggest that previously under Neil there were times that we went through the motions. Dropped points in games we shouldn’t have dropped points in. I should go back and check but at the moment I will live with that thought. 

St Mirren on a cold night, in front of a sparse crowd, is where the coaches need to do their work and the players need to be professional. We need to take care of business and give The Buddies respect. They will park the bus. They will time-waste. They won’t have much ambition in what is a free hit for them. I respect them for that. You do whatever you need to do to put food on your table or points on the board. 

So do we. We need to carry on from Sunday with another performance of verve and excellence. It’s still early but winning games is excellent fun no matter when it happens. 

I think we will. I predict that we will win 3-0 with Kristoffer Ajer scoring.

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DECLAN MCCONVILLE:

Celtic will head into the match again St Mirren high on confidence after an outstanding victory at Pittodrie on Sunday.

With one eye on the semi-final against Hibernian at the weekend, I would expect Neil Lennon to make some changes to the side.

Ryan Christie will be welcomed back to league duty after sitting out of the previous two SPFL games due to suspension, while midfielder Olivier Ntcham may also be included.

Celtic have been in free-scoring form at Celtic Park, and I would expect Wednesday evening to be no different.

Celtic to win 5-0 with Ryan Christie to score.

COLIN WATT:

Games are coming around thick and fast for the champions, and it’s a return to Parkhead for league business on Wednesday night, as St Mirren make the short trip to Glasgow.

A scintillating first-half at Pittodrie saw some of the best football Celtic have played all season, before letting the foot off the gas in the second-half. A repeat of the same on Wednesday will be what Neil Lennon, the players, and the fans will be after.

Odsonne Edouard has been leading the line brilliantly over the last few weeks and his link-up play with Mo Elyounoussi has been a particular highlight recently. If this combination clicks on Wednesday night, it could be a long evening for the Paisley Buddies.

Ryan Christie should make his return from suspension and I fancy him to be a thorn in the side for Jim Goodwin’s men, who will be looking to avoid a horror show on Halloween eve.

My FansBet prediction is Celtic to win 4-0, Ryan Christie to score anytime

ALAN MORRISON:

A clash of opposites ensues as Celtic host their first Wednesday SPFL match of the season against St Mirren.

No side has more goals for and against in their SPFL games as Celtic (39) and no one less that St Mirren’s 14. The league’s top scorers (the champions have scored 32 so far) meet the team with the least-est (5!). But if that points to an obvious weakness for the Buddies, they have only conceded 9, ranking third best in the league.

The Paisley side have lost every away league game, but only one by more than a single goal (0-2 at Motherwell). This solidity is built on consistency of selection. No manager tinkers less with his line up than Goodwin. He averages 1.3 changes per game compared to a league average 2.33.

Whereas this aids defensive solidity, his attack is misfiring. St Mirren have taken the fourth most shots with 105, but only 31% are accurate – the league’s lowest. And a pitiful shot conversion of 5% compares with Celtic’s league leading 18%. St Mirren’s on target shot conversion of 15% is more akin to most teams total shot conversion rates. Those are bad numbers. Only Magennis for the Buddies has more than one scoring contribution this season.

On the other hand, despite 40% of opposition shots hitting the target, St Mirren only concede from 20% of them – the second best in the league. Goalkeeper Hladky can be tough to breach.

St Mirren have proven difficult to break down in the first-half of games conceding just 2. They have conceded 3 in the last 10 minutes, so patience may be required.
Expect a ‘0’ against the Hoops then, but with probable squad rotation, Celtic may have to work hard to pierce a settled defence. But if Celtic can score early it may be different – St Mirren have failed to rescue any points from a losing position.

Celtic to prevail 2-0 with Edouard continuing his fine form.

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