Celtic showed a strong mentality in a solid second-half showing as they overcame an early scare provided by Craig Levein’s St Johnstone side at McDiarmid Park this afternoon.
Diallang Jaiyesimi put the Saints ahead just before the break with a goal where the Celtic defence didn’t cover themselves in glory as the team once again conceded from a cross-ball.
Brendan Rodgers would have asked for a response from his side in the second-half and he got just that as a pair of cracking goals from Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley along with a late James Forrest strike ensured that Celtic left Perth with all three points.
Joe Hart – 5
The English stopper looked completely hapless for St Johnstone’s opener and it provided an eye-opener into just how desperate Celtic’s goalkeeper situation is and the need for it to be addressed in either the January or Summer window.
He made a big save at the end to deny Stevie May but it doesn’t take away from his first-half howler.
Alistair Johnston – 6
Johnston put in a solid and composed display as he defended well whilst contributing strongly to Celtic’s attacking play.
Cameron Carter-Vickers – 6
The American defended strongly on a day St Johnstone sprung a few surprises with how well they attacked, especially in the first-half.
Liam Scales – 6
Scales was solid against the Saints but he couldn’t showcase his cutting-edge and precise long distance passing on a day that Celtic could have really used it.
Greg Taylor – 5
Taylor had a very quiet game in which he wasn’t as involved in the play as he usually would be. He couldn’t create much with Celtic looking particularly weak in the wide areas in the first-half.
Matt O’Riley – 7
The Dane showed the improvements in his finishing ability as he lashed Celtic in front with the all-important goal coming in the 79th minute. He could have done better for St Johnstone’s opener as he struggled to get the ball clear but his massive influence on the team was evident in the second-half.
Callum McGregor – 7
McGregor turned in a captain’s performance as he helped galvanise the team after going behind in the first-half. He gambled on a long-range strike that paid off as it flew past Dimitar Mitov and brought Celtic level in the game. He was deservingly awarded the SPFL player-of-the-match following the game.
David Turnbull – 5
Turnbull wasn’t as clinical as he would have hoped from a starting position today. He had a goal chopped off for offside in the first-half and tried to convert a few chances without success before he was replaced by Oh Hyeon-gyu just before the hour-mark.
Yang Hyun-jun – 5
Yang was brought off at half-time for Mikey Johnston after a poor first-half in which he was constantly found offside and couldn’t pose any real threat for the St Johnston backline.
Kyogo Furuhashi – 6
The Japanese forward received a bit more service compared to what he has been served up in his last few appearances but he just lacked the finishing touch to break the quiet spell of form he is currently in. He passed up a massive one-on-one chance to put Celtic ahead with Mitov keeping him out.
Luis Palma – 6
The Honduran had a decent first-half where he was constantly looking to make something happen but just couldn’t pick up Kyogo in the box. He was substituted late in the game with an injury and was replaced by Tomoki Iwata.
Mikey Johnston – 5
The Irishman caused problems for the Saints backline as he brought some energy to the Celtic attack.
Oh Hyeon-gyu – 5
Oh offered a physical presence that Celtic needed up top and helped bring us back into the game.
James Forrest – 6
Made a good impact as he used his experience to help unlock a rigid and organised St Johnstone backline. He grabbed a late goal in stoppage time and will be hoping his name is in the hat for a start against Hibs on Wednesday.
Tomoki Iwata – N/A
The Japanese midfielder was brought on for Luis Palma with five minutes left to play.
JAMES MCKENZIE // Follow James HERE