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Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Saturday, 28 November 2009

Celtic   3 - 1   St Mirren

By Andy Campbell

Celtic striker Scott McDonald
McDonald's goals helped Celtic to the top of the SPL

Celtic returned to the top of the Scottish Premier League following a comfortable home win over St Mirren.

Scott McDonald and Georgios Samaras scored in quick succession to put the home side in command.

Michael Higdon pulled one back for Saints just before the interval but McDonald restored Celtic's two-goal advantage on 61 minutes.

Chris Innes' handball gave McDonald the chance of a hat-trick but the striker's penalty was saved by Paul Gallacher.

Celtic's win, allied to Rangers' defeat to Aberdeen earlier in the day, allowed Tony Mowbray's side to go two points clear of their Old Firm rivals, with the Ibrox club having played a game less.

Zheng Zhi, Samaras and McDonald had efforts at goal before the visitors' Andy Dorman limped off to be replaced by Higdon on 20 minutes.

St Mirren briefly frustrated their hosts with some stubborn defending but often wanted too much time to clear their lines and it seemed inevitable that Celtic would eventually find an opening.

And it came on 39 minutes as Samaras dinked a pass through to McDonald, who shot past Gallacher with the aid of a slight deflection off Innes.

Carelessness cost St Mirren three minutes later as Higdon was caught in possession by Landry N'Guemo and Aiden McGeady picked up the loose ball and began to drive at the St Mirren defence.

The Republic of Ireland international carried the ball to the edge of the area and laid on a pass for Samaras to side-foot into the net with a simple finish.

Higdon atoned for his earlier mishap when he capitalised on a defensive error to drag St Mirren back into the match.

Billy Mehmet's cross to the edge of the box was intercepted by Marc Crosas but the Spaniard appeared to mis-control the ball as he played it back towards his own goal and Higdon nipped in to lift the ball into the net.

McGeady and Hinkel combined early in the second half but the latter could not get enough purchase on the shot as Gallacher claimed comfortably.

Celtic continued to press and McGeady crossed for McDonald to volley home at the near post and all but clinch the three points.

The home side thought they had a fourth when Crosas' corner bounced off McDonald's chest and Zhi fired home from close range but the Australian had already been flagged offside.

Mehmet volleyed over from a promising position and Dargo's tame shot was saved by Lukasz Zaluska either side of Marc-Antoine Fortune blazing over at the other end.

Fortune's frustration in front of goal continued as his angled shot cleared the far post and Danny Fox's long-range drive was superbly tipped over Gallacher.

Referee Steve Conroy pointed to the spot in injury-time after Innes blatantly handled Barry Robson's corner.

The St Mirren defender was shown a yellow and then a red card but quickly returned to the fray after referee Conroy realised that Innes had not previously been booked.

McDonald shot low to Gallacher's left and the former Scotland goalkeeper guessed correctly to make the save and also blocked the forward's rebound effort.


Celtic manager Tony Mowbray:
"It was important just to win today. We didn't fluke it today, we could have won by more. We're happy to take the points.

"If we're going to be successful over a long, long period of time, we've got to make sure that the performance level is good and that we win by playing well every week but today we needed the three points.

"It was a pressurised day for us but we came through. Today, we did enough to win the football match and build on that.

"(The goal St Mirren scored) probably typifies us a little bit in the way we make things difficult for ourselves.

"But again we'll go through the process and ultimately we'll get to the point where the games won't be edgy, the games will be a confident, fast-flowing team believing that they're going to win every match but you have to go through the process we're going through at the moment.

"Scott's frustrated he didn't manage to tuck that penalty away to give himself a hat-trick but that's football."

St Mirren manager Gus MacPherson:
"I can complain about the manner of our defending, how poor the goals we lost were because I thought we had done the hardest bit in containing Celtic for the first 30 minutes. But then we got sloppy.

"We passed the ball reasonably well but then we got a wee bit casual and Celtic punished us for the silly mistakes that we made and that can happen.

"We got back into the game and made it 2-1 and we said at half-time that a second goal for us was going to be crucial if we could get it because I think there would've caused a different atmosphere in the stadium.

"But again, we lost a poor goal.

"Mr Conroy thought Chris Innes had previously been booked. It wasn't until I had seen a couple of players complain that I realised that it was Lee Mair that had got booked earlier.

"We had a real strong shout for a free-kick on the edge of the box before Celtic scored the first goal. It's as clear a free-kick as you'll get - a tackle from behind and the ball's not won."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Scottish Premier

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Celtic 3-1 St Mirren FT
(HT 2-1)
  • Innes (og) 39
  • Samaras 42
  • McDonald 61
  • Higdon 45

Celtic

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 02 Hinkel
  • 05 Caldwell yellow card
  • 11 Fox
  • 22 Loovens
  • 06 N'Guemo
  • 17 Crosas
  • 27 Zhi (Robson 85)
  • 46 McGeady (McGinn 87)
  • 07 McDonald
  • 09 Samaras (Fortune 64)

Substitutes

  • 47 Cervi,
  • 04 McManus,
  • 38 Thompson,
  • 14 McGinn,
  • 19 Robson,
  • 36 Carey,
  • 10 Fortune

St Mirren

  • 01 Gallacher
  • 05 Mair yellow card
  • 19 Barron
  • 21 Innes yellow card
  • 02 Ross
  • 04 McGinn (Johnston 67)
  • 07 Murray (Dargo 79)
  • 08 Dorman (Higdon 19)
  • 10 Thomson
  • 14 Brady
  • 09 Mehmet

Substitutes

  • 20 Howard,
  • 06 Potter,
  • 27 Mclean,
  • 28 Devlin,
  • 41 Johnston,
  • 11 Higdon,
  • 18 Dargo
Ref: ConroyAtt: 41,000
CELTIC
ST MIRREN

Possession

  • Celtic 62%
  • St Mirren 38%

Attempts on target

  • Celtic 11
  • St Mirren 4

Attempts off target

  • Celtic 5
  • St Mirren 2

Corners

  • Celtic 6
  • St Mirren 4

Fouls

  • Celtic 7
  • St Mirren 13
  • Final Result
  • 90:00+3:12 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+2:01 Inswinging corner from left by-line taken right-footed by Barry Robson (Celtic) to far post, resulting in open play.
  • 90:00+0:57 Placed penalty taken right-footed by Scott McDonald (Celtic) (bottom-right of goal), save (parried) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 90:00+0:57 Booking Chris Innes (St Mirren) booked for unsporting behaviour.
  • 90:00+0:06 Handball by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 89:29 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Barry Robson (Celtic) to far post, resulting in open play.
  • 89:20 Shot by Daniel Fox (Celtic) left-footed from left channel (20 yards), save (tipped round post) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 88:33 Foul by Barry Robson (Celtic) on Allan Johnston (St Mirren). Free kick taken right-footed by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 87:30 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 86:41 Substitution Celtic substitution: Aiden McGeady replaced by Niall McGinn (tactical).
  • 86:29 Shot by Marc-Antoine Fortune (Celtic) right-footed from right side of six-yard box (6 yards), missed right.
  • 85:50 Attacking throw-in by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 85:14 Goal kick taken long by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic).
  • 84:55 Shot by Craig Dargo (St Mirren) left-footed from left side of penalty area (12 yards), save (caught) by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic).
  • 84:52 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 84:24 Substitution Celtic substitution: Zheng Zhi replaced by Barry Robson (tactical).
  • 83:45 Scott McDonald (Celtic) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 83:20 Defending throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 82:18 Defending throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 82:09 Attacking throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 81:57 Attacking throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 81:29 Foul by Marc-Antoine Fortune (Celtic) on Jack Ross (St Mirren). Free kick taken right-footed by Jack Ross (St Mirren) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 81:10 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 80:51 Shot by Aiden McGeady (Celtic) right-footed from right channel (20 yards), over the bar.
  • 80:26 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 79:49 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 79:38 Shot by Marc-Antoine Fortune (Celtic) left-footed from left side of penalty area (12 yards), over the bar.
  • 79:02 Goal kick taken long by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic).
  • 78:29 Substitution St Mirren substitution: Hugh Murray replaced by Craig Dargo (tactical).
  • 77:44 Foul by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) on Michael Higdon (St Mirren). Free kick taken right-footed by Jack Ross (St Mirren) from left wing, shot by Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) left-footed from left side of penalty area (12 yards), over the bar.
  • 76:50 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Garry Brady (St Mirren) to near post, clearance by Marc Crosas (Celtic).
  • 75:57 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 75:13 Scott McDonald (Celtic) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 74:56 Corner from left by-line taken short right-footed by Marc Crosas (Celtic).
  • 74:11 Foul by Hugh Murray (St Mirren) on Zheng Zhi (Celtic). Free kick taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) from left channel (25 yards), hit wall.
  • 73:05 Attacking throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 72:59 Cross by Marc-Antoine Fortune (Celtic), clearance by Lee Mair (St Mirren).
  • 72:18 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 71:19 Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Glenn Loovens (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 71:01 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 70:12 Foul by Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) on Gary Caldwell (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 69:44 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Garry Brady (St Mirren) to far post, clearance by Gary Caldwell (Celtic).
  • Correction - 68:24 Shot on goal comes in from Jack Ross from the free kick, blocked by Gary Caldwell.
  • 68:24 Free kick taken right-footed by Jack Ross (St Mirren) from right channel (25 yards), blocked by Gary Caldwell (Celtic).
  • 68:24 Booking Gary Caldwell (Celtic) booked for unsporting behaviour.
  • 68:03 Foul by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) on Michael Higdon (St Mirren).
  • 67:01 Defending throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 66:18 Substitution St Mirren substitution: Stephen McGinn replaced by Allan Johnston (tactical).
  • 65:18 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 64:42 Header by Marc-Antoine Fortune (Celtic) from right side of penalty area (18 yards), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 64:12 Foul by Chris Innes (St Mirren) on Scott McDonald (Celtic). Free kick taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) from left channel, resulting in open play.
  • 63:49 Substitution Celtic substitution: Georgios Samaras replaced by Marc-Antoine Fortune (tactical).
  • 62:11 Shot by Scott McDonald (Celtic) right-footed from right channel (20 yards), blocked by Lee Mair (St Mirren).
  • 61:32 Defending throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 60:24 Assist (cross) by Aiden McGeady (Celtic) from right wing.
  • 60:24 GOAL - Scott McDonaldCeltic 3 - 1 St Mirren Goal by Scott McDonald (Celtic) left-footed (bottom-right of goal) from left side of penalty area (6 yards).Celtic 3-1 St Mirren.
  • 59:39 Foul by Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) on Zheng Zhi (Celtic). Free kick taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 59:09 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 58:34 Defending throw-in by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 57:37 Defending throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 56:57 Foul by Chris Innes (St Mirren) on Georgios Samaras (Celtic). Free kick taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) from left channel, resulting in open play.
  • 55:49 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) to centre, save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 55:45 Cross by Aiden McGeady (Celtic), clearance by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 54:03 Michael Higdon (St Mirren) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 53:47 Shot by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic) right-footed from right side of penalty area (12 yards), save (parried) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 53:13 Attacking throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 53:02 Cross by Aiden McGeady (Celtic), clearance by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 52:08 Attacking throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 51:32 Foul by Michael Higdon (St Mirren) on Marc Crosas (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Landry N'Guemo (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 50:34 Attacking throw-in by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 49:36 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) to centre, save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 49:11 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 47:59 Free kick taken left-footed by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) from left channel, passed.
  • 47:59 Booking Lee Mair (St Mirren) booked for unsporting behaviour.
  • 47:52 Foul by Lee Mair (St Mirren) on Georgios Samaras (Celtic).
  • 46:31 Cross by Jack Ross (St Mirren), clearance by Marc Crosas (Celtic).
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half started.
  • 45:00+2:10 The match has reached half-time.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+1:47 Cross by Georgios Samaras (Celtic), clearance by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 45:00+0:41 Georgios Samaras (Celtic) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 44:27 Assist (cross) by Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) from right wing.
  • 44:27 GOAL - Michael HigdonCeltic 2 - 1 St Mirren Goal by Michael Higdon (St Mirren) right-footed (high centre of goal) from right side of six-yard box (6 yards).Celtic 2-1 St Mirren.
  • 43:45 Defending throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 43:31 Defending throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 43:10 Outswinging corner from right by-line taken right-footed by Garry Brady (St Mirren) to centre, resulting in open play.
  • 43:01 Shot by Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) right-footed from left channel (20 yards), blocked by Zheng Zhi (Celtic).
  • 42:12 Foul by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) on Michael Higdon (St Mirren). Free kick taken right-footed by Jack Ross (St Mirren) from left channel, passed.
  • 41:07 Assist (pass) by Aiden McGeady (Celtic) from right channel.
  • 41:07 GOAL - Georgios SamarasCeltic 2 - 0 St Mirren Goal by Georgios Samaras (Celtic) right-footed (bottom-left of goal) from left side of penalty area (12 yards).Celtic 2-0 St Mirren.
  • 40:46 Goal kick taken long by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic).
  • 40:26 Header by Chris Innes (St Mirren) from centre of penalty area (12 yards), missed left.
  • 40:19 Cross by Hugh Murray (St Mirren), save (punched) by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic).
  • 40:00 Corner from right by-line taken short right-footed by Garry Brady (St Mirren).
  • 39:29 Foul by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) on Michael Higdon (St Mirren). Free kick taken right-footed by Jack Ross (St Mirren) from left channel, resulting in open play.
  • 38:09 GOAL - Scott McDonaldCeltic 1 - 0 St Mirren Goal by Scott McDonald (Celtic) left-footed (bottom-left of goal) from right side of penalty area (6 yards).Celtic 1-0 St Mirren.
  • 35:57 Foul by Jack Ross (St Mirren) on Daniel Fox (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 34:09 Cross by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic), resulting in open play.
  • 31:21 Shot by Aiden McGeady (Celtic) left-footed from right channel (20 yards), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 30:37 Attacking throw-in by Marc Crosas (Celtic).
  • 30:27 Shot by Aiden McGeady (Celtic) left-footed from centre of penalty area (12 yards), blocked by Lee Mair (St Mirren).
  • 30:09 Cross by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic), clearance by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 30:01 Cross by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic), resulting in open play.
  • 29:29 Foul by Michael Higdon (St Mirren) on Gary Caldwell (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Glenn Loovens (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 29:00 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 28:28 Inswinging corner from right by-line taken left-footed by Daniel Fox (Celtic) to far post, resulting in ball out of play.
  • 27:37 Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 27:23 Cross by Aiden McGeady (Celtic), clearance by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 26:53 Attacking throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 26:47 Cross by Daniel Fox (Celtic), clearance by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 25:59 Foul by Michael Higdon (St Mirren) on Andreas Hinkel (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 25:19 Cross by Garry Brady (St Mirren), clearance by Marc Crosas (Celtic).
  • 25:11 Cross by Jack Ross (St Mirren), clearance by Glenn Loovens (Celtic).
  • 24:36 Foul by Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) on Gary Caldwell (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 24:15 Cross by Daniel Fox (Celtic), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 23:27 Billy Mehmet (St Mirren) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Lukasz Zaluska (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 22:48 Cross by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 22:23 Foul by Hugh Murray (St Mirren) on Zheng Zhi (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Landry N'Guemo (Celtic) from left channel, passed.
  • 21:26 Attacking throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 21:08 Defending throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 20:58 Defending throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 19:12 Attacking throw-in by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 18:58 Defending throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 18:29 Substitution St Mirren substitution: Andy Dorman replaced by Michael Higdon (injury).
  • 15:43 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 15:27 Shot by Scott McDonald (Celtic) volleyed right-footed from right side of six-yard box (6 yards), missed right.
  • 14:51 Cross by Daniel Fox (Celtic), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 14:32 Attacking throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 13:45 Defending throw-in by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 13:11 Defending throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 11:47 Goal kick taken long by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 11:37 Shot by Georgios Samaras (Celtic) right-footed from right channel (20 yards), missed left.
  • 10:48 Foul by Scott McDonald (Celtic) on Chris Innes (St Mirren). Free kick taken right-footed by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren) from own half, resulting in open play.
  • 10:43 Cross by Aiden McGeady (Celtic), clearance by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 10:03 Defending throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 9:42 Defending throw-in by Chris Innes (St Mirren).
  • 9:14 Cross by Daniel Fox (Celtic), clearance by Lee Mair (St Mirren).
  • 8:37 David Barron (St Mirren) caught offside. Free kick taken right-footed by Gary Caldwell (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 8:04 Cross by Aiden McGeady (Celtic), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 7:17 Defending throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 6:16 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 5:09 Attacking throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 4:48 Defending throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 4:23 Defending throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 4:07 Foul by David Barron (St Mirren) on Aiden McGeady (Celtic). Free kick taken right-footed by Marc Crosas (Celtic) from own half, passed.
  • 3:42 Shot by Zheng Zhi (Celtic) right-footed from left side of penalty area (12 yards), save (caught) by Paul Gallacher (St Mirren).
  • 3:06 Defending throw-in by Andreas Hinkel (Celtic).
  • 2:53 Defending throw-in by David Barron (St Mirren).
  • 0:29 Attacking throw-in by Daniel Fox (Celtic).
  • 0:15 Defending throw-in by Jack Ross (St Mirren).
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game started.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Scottish Premier results

28 Nov 2009 23:59 UK

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Aberdeen 1-0 Rangers R
Celtic 3-1 St Mirren R
Hibernian 2-0 Falkirk R
Kilmarnock 1-2 Hearts R
Motherwell 2-2 Dundee Utd R
St Johnstone 1-1 Hamilton R

Scottish Premier table snapshot

As it stood on 28 Nov 2009 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Celtic 13 13 27
2 Rangers 12 12 25
3 Hibernian 13 10 25
4 Dundee Utd 12 8 23
5 Motherwell 13 3 20
6 Aberdeen 13 0 18
7 Hearts 13 -4 13
8 St Johnstone 13 -5 13
9 St Mirren 13 -5 13
10 Hamilton 13 -11 10
11 Kilmarnock 13 -10 9
12 Falkirk 13 -11 8


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