St Mirren head to head: Celtic on top against the Buddies

Celtic return to Paradise this afternoon for the first time since being crowned Champions of Scotland for the 53rd time, with Stephen Robinson’s St. Mirren the visitors.

The Hoops will be looking to put the disappointment of last weekend’s derby defeat behind them and get back to winning ways ahead of the Scottish Cup final in two weeks’ time.  However, St. Mirren, who are still in with a chance of a top-four finish and European football next season, will be out to spoil Celtic’s party and leave Glasgow with at least one valuable point.


Despite being on the wrong end of some high-scoring defeats in games between the sides this season, The Buddies, have provided stern opposition against Celtic.  Stephen Robinson’s side is one of the few to find a balance between defending deep and attacking in numbers to cause problems.

Famously, of course, St. Mirren inflicted the first domestic defeat of the season on Celtic at St. Mirren Park back in September.  Goals from O’Hara and Ayunga sealed the win for St. Mirren on a day when a much-changed Celtic side failed to cope with their host’s physicality or turn 80% ball possession into goals.

That early season defeat spurred Celtic onto a 34-game unbeaten domestic run that ended last Saturday at Ibrox, and included three 4-goal wins against St. Mirren; although not all were as easy as the final results would suggest.

First up was a fairly straight-forward 4-0 rout of the Paisley side in January, Abada, Kyogo (2), and David Turnbull grabbing the goals.  However, had an early Curtis Main goal not been (correctly) disallowed by VAR, we could have been in for a more interesting game.


The Hoops followed that up with 5-1 win the Scottish Cup the following month, however, 4 of Celtic’s goals came in the final 15 minutes after St. Mirren had been reduced to 10 men; Richard Taylor was shown a straight red for handling a goal-bound effort from Liel Abada.

Until Taylor’s dismissal, St. Mirren had pushed Celtic close, creating some promising openings of their own.  Ultimately, the man advantage eased Celtic through the closing stages with Oh, Hatate, and O’Riley all getting their names on the scoresheet.

The sides’ last meeting also ended 5-1 to Celtic, with the game similarly turning after a St. Mirren dismissal.  This time it was Charles Dunne who saw red after hauling Kyogo to the ground just outside the penalty area on the stroke of half-time.

Celtic were 1-0 down at the time and struggling to break through the home defence, however, with the extra man in the second half, Celtic eventually turned the screw, running out with a convincing scoreline.

Looking to today’s game, Stephen Robinson has already confirmed that he has limited attacking options at his disposal which may necessitate a more defensive approach from the Northern Irishman.

In front of a passionate home crowd in a celebratory mood today, it will be up to the Champions to take the game to St. Mirren and put on a show worthy of their title.  They certainly have the firepower within the ranks to do just that and inch the points tally closer to the magic 100 mark.

Kevin McCluskie

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