Pre-match with A Celtic State of Mind – We look ahead to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park

KEVIN MCCLUSKIE:

I always think of McDiarmid Park as being a difficult ground to play at, as St Johnstone are generally a well-organized defensive unit under Tommy Wright.

However, Celtic have won on each of their last six visits to Perth and haven’t conceded in their last four games there – no doubt putting the jinx on that stat, apologies in advance.

Results, if not performances, have been good since returning from the winter break but with Eddy on fire and Christie returning from suspension, I’d like to think Celtic would have enough in the tank to see off St Johnstone.

Ideally, we can put the game to bed early enough to give Klimala a decent run out and finally see what he can do in the Hoops.

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PAUL JOHN DYKES:

Neil Lennon seems to have settled on a formation that he is comfortable with, where he deploys three centre-halves who are supported by an overlapping full-back (Taylor or Frimpong) and defensive-midfielder, Scott Brown.

His midfield were overrun in two successive matches against Rangers and Lenny has done something about it. He has full-backs in Jonny Hayes, Greg Taylor, Jeremie Frimpong, Moritz Bauer and Boli Bolingoli who all seem well-equipped in working up and down the flanks, so this change in shape should continue to bear fruit.

Top goal-scorer, Odsonne Edouard, wasn’t risked from the start of the 3-0 home win against Ross County, but he will make a welcome return to the starting XI for the visit to Perth. On Saturday, Eddy showed the class that he injects into this Celtic side, and he is surely a favourite to add to the 20 goals he already has to his name this season.

Another reassuring return is that of Kristoffer Ajer, who has been much derided since the Rangers defeat at the end of 2019. The ACSOM team have been long-time supporters of the big Norwegian and the centre of defence looks far weaker without him.

The bench is again a strong one, with the creativity and invention of Johnston, Rogic and Christie, and the attacking full-backs, Bauer and Hayes. Meanwhile, Polish striker Patryk Klimala is yet to make an impression and tonight will hopefully see him given a worthwhile run-out.

I predict another 3-0 victory for Celtic with both Edouard and Griffiths getting on the score-sheet.

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