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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Saturday, 20 March 2010

Celtic   3 - 0   St Johnstone

Robbie Keane, Josh Thompson and Marc-Antoine Fortune celebrate
Keane and Thompson were two of Celtic's scorers against St Johnstone

By Clive Lindsay

Robbie Keane scored his ninth Celtic goal as they reduced Rangers' lead in the Scottish Premier League to 10 points by easing aside St Johnstone.

Josh Thompson headed Celtic into a 15th-minute lead.

Gavin Swankie sent a free-kick against the Celtic post before Aiden McGeady fired against the Saints woodwork.

Keane scored with a penalty after Graeme Smith upended Marc-Antoine Fortune on 67 minutes and Georgios Samaras slotted in a late third.

Celtic manager Tony Mowbray appeared to have one eye on next season, despite publicly stating that he still believes his side can overhaul the reigning champions' lead.

Goalkeeper Artur Boruc was left on the bench on his return from compassionate leave, with Mowbray stating he wanted to have another look at Lukasz Zaluska, with his Polish compatriot only having another year left on his contract.

St Johnstone striker Kenny Deuchar is helped from the field
St Johnstone lost striker Kenny Deuchar early on

Mark Wilson replaced Andreas Hinkel at right-back for similar reasons and, without captain Scott Brown through suspension, Paul McGowan was drafted in for his first league start along with fellow striker Marc-Antoine Fortune as Morten Rasmussen dropped out.

In effect, it meant a 4-2-4 formation for Celtic, while St Johnstone manager Derek McInnes resisted the temptation to play defensively, like many visitors to Celtic Park, and kept two men up front despite being forced into several changes.

Paul Sheerin, Murray Davidson, Gavin Swankie and Steven Milne had come into the starting line-up, with Liam Craig dropping to the bench, but the Perth side had to be further adjusted when striker Kenny Deuchar limped off after an awkward 15th-minute fall.

Seconds after Steven Reynolds came on as a replacement, Celtic broke the deadlock.

Edson Braafheid's in-swinging free-kick from wide on the right was met by teenage defender Thompson, who headed past goalkeeper Smith from eight yards for his first goal for Celtic since arriving from Stockport in the summer.

McGowan was put through on goal by Keane but sent a shot with the outside of his foot off the top of the crossbar and the diminutive forward then headed wide when found unmarked eight yards from goal.

Keane himself sent a 14-yard effort wide as he stretched to reach a Fortune cross.

Saints substitute Gavin Swankie twice went close to equalising against the run of play either side of the break.

First, Darren O'Dea did enough to block a drive from 16 yards then the forward's low curling free-kick from 20 yards struck the outside of the far post.

Celtic responded in kind, with Aiden McGeady curling an effort from a wide position against the inside of the far post.

That signalled a period of intense Celtic pressure, with the ball pinging dangerously around the St Johnstone penalty box.

Keane was denied by a couple of point-blank saves from goalkeeper Graeme Smith on the goal-line.

It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Celtic made the breakthrough and it finally came from the penalty spot.

Smith hauled down Fortune near the touchline and Keane blasted into the top corner to effectively kill the game.

Fortune's replacement, Samaras, added the third after 87 minutes when he eased aside two defenders before slotting the ball under the advancing Smith.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Scottish Premier

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Celtic 3-0 St Johnstone FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Thompson 16
  • Keane (pen) 67
  • Samaras 87

    Celtic

    • 24 Zaluska
    • 12 Wilson
    • 21 Braafheid
    • 38 Thompson
    • 48 O'Dea
    • 06 N'Guemo
    • 10 Fortune (Samaras 73)
    • 17 Crosas (Ki 57)
    • 46 McGeady
    • 07 Keane
    • 55 McGowan (Zhi 88)

    Substitutes

    • 01 Boruc,
    • 02 Hinkel,
    • 52 Caddis,
    • 18 Ki,
    • 27 Zhi,
    • 09 Samaras,
    • 19 Rasmussen

    St Johnstone

    • 25 Smith
    • 02 Irvine
    • 03 Grainger yellow card
    • 12 MacKay
    • 28 Duberry
    • 07 Millar
    • 11 Sheerin (Craig 58)
    • 19 Swankie yellow card
    • 20 Davidson yellow card
    • 09 Milne (Morais 71)
    • 17 Deuchar (Reynolds 15)

    Substitutes

    • 01 Main,
    • 18 Gartland,
    • 27 Connolly,
    • 10 Craig,
    • 22 Morais,
    • 47 Falkingham,
    • 32 Reynolds
    Ref: MurrayAtt: 30,000
    CELTIC
    ST JOHNSTONE

    Possession

    • Celtic 62%
    • St Johnstone 38%

    Attempts on target

    • Celtic 5
    • St Johnstone 2

    Attempts off target

    • Celtic 8
    • St Johnstone 3

    Corners

    • Celtic 7
    • St Johnstone 1

    Fouls

    • Celtic 4
    • St Johnstone 12
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+1:31 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
    • 90:00+0:29 The ball is swung over by Filipe Morais, clearance by Josh Thompson.
    • 90:00+0:23 The ball is swung over by Daniel Grainger.
    • 89:38 Aiden McGeady produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the goal.
    • 87:30 Corner taken by Sung-Yong Ki from the left by-line to the near post, Foul by Robbie Keane on Chris Millar, free kick awarded. Graeme Smith takes the direct free kick.
    • 87:30 Substitution Zheng Zhi replaces Paul McGowan.
    • 87:30 The ball is swung over by Mark Wilson, Daniel Grainger gets a block in.
    • 86:28 Assist on the goal came from Paul McGowan.
    • 86:28 GOAL - Georgios SamarasCeltic 3 - 0 St Johnstone Georgios Samaras scores a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Celtic 3-0 St Johnstone.
    • 85:43 Aiden McGeady produces a cross, save by Graeme Smith.
    • 85:37 Edson Braafheid produces a cross.
    • 84:43 Sung-Yong Ki takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Murray Davidson makes a clearance. Sung-Yong Ki takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Michael Duberry.
    • 83:53 The assistant referee flags for offside against Gary Irvine. Indirect free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.
    • 82:25 Murray Davidson produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes wide left of the goal.
    • 82:15 Centre by Liam Craig, Darren O'Dea manages to make a clearance.
    • 80:04 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul McGowan by Chris Millar. Paul McGowan takes the free kick.
    • 78:07 Murray Davidson has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.
    • 77:26 Edson Braafheid challenges Gavin Swankie unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Liam Craig, clearance by Darren O'Dea.
    • 76:20 The referee blows for offside. Daniel Grainger restarts play with the free kick.
    • 75:13 Aiden McGeady delivers the ball, David MacKay manages to make a clearance.
    • 73:39 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mark Wilson by Daniel Grainger. Direct free kick taken by Sung-Yong Ki. The offside flag is raised against Georgios Samaras. Graeme Smith takes the indirect free kick.
    • 72:24 Edson Braafheid takes the free kick.
    • 72:24 Substitution Marc-Antoine Fortune goes off and Georgios Samaras comes on.
    • 72:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Aiden McGeady by Gary Irvine.
    • 72:14 Centre by Gary Irvine, save by Lukasz Zaluska.
    • 72:09 A cross is delivered by Filipe Morais, Josh Thompson makes a clearance.
    • 70:16 Substitution (St Johnstone) makes a substitution, with Filipe Morais coming on for Steven Milne.
    • 69:22 Marc-Antoine Fortune takes a shot. Save made by Graeme Smith.
    • 66:41 GOAL - Robbie KeaneCeltic 2 - 0 St Johnstone Robbie Keane scores a placed penalty. Celtic 2-0 St Johnstone.
    • 66:08 Aiden McGeady crosses the ball, Robbie Keane takes a shot. Save made by Graeme Smith. Graeme Smith challenges Marc-Antoine Fortune unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
    • 64:28 The assistant referee flags for offside against Robbie Keane. Graeme Smith restarts play with the free kick.
    • 63:50 The ball is swung over by Sung-Yong Ki, blocked by David MacKay.
    • 62:51 Sung-Yong Ki crosses the ball, Paul McGowan takes a shot. Blocked by David MacKay. Foul by Daniel Grainger on Paul McGowan, free kick awarded. Edson Braafheid delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, clearance made by Daniel Grainger.
    • 62:21 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sung-Yong Ki from the left by-line, Michael Duberry makes a clearance.
    • 62:21 Booking Daniel Grainger is cautioned.
    • 61:52 Aiden McGeady sends in a cross, save made by Graeme Smith.
    • 61:02 Effort from the edge of the area by Aiden McGeady goes wide of the right-hand post.
    • 60:53 The ball is crossed by Marc-Antoine Fortune, Graeme Smith makes a save.
    • 59:19 Aiden McGeady sends in a cross, blocked by Gary Irvine. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Sung-Yong Ki, clearance by David MacKay.
    • 58:24 Sung-Yong Ki takes the free kick.
    • 58:24 Booking Booking for Murray Davidson.
    • 58:16 Unfair challenge on Paul McGowan by Murray Davidson results in a free kick.
    • 56:30 Substitution Liam Craig joins the action as a substitute, replacing Paul Sheerin.
    • 56:30 Substitution Sung-Yong Ki joins the action as a substitute, replacing Marc Crosas.
    • 56:30 Close range header by Marc-Antoine Fortune misses to the right of the goal.
    • 54:36 Landry N'Guemo fouled by Murray Davidson, the ref awards a free kick. Darren O'Dea takes the free kick.
    • 54:16 Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Aiden McGeady strikes the post.
    • 53:09 Aiden McGeady has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 51:28 Josh Thompson concedes a free kick for a foul on Murray Davidson. Gavin Swankie has an effort direct from the free kick.
    • 50:46 Corner taken left-footed by Daniel Grainger, clearance made by Mark Wilson.
    • 47:58 Outswinging corner taken by Edson Braafheid from the left by-line.
    • 47:45 The ball is swung over by Edson Braafheid, Michael Duberry makes a clearance.
    • 47:01 The assistant referee signals for offside against Robbie Keane. Free kick taken by Graeme Smith.
    • 45:01 The second half kicks off.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+2:29 The referee blows for half time.
    • 45:00+0:10 Centre by Aiden McGeady, Robbie Keane produces a right-footed shot from close in that goes over the bar.
    • 44:04 Marc-Antoine Fortune challenges Michael Duberry unfairly and gives away a free kick. Graeme Smith takes the direct free kick.
    • 43:54 The ball is swung over by Aiden McGeady, Graeme Smith makes a save.
    • 40:56 Aiden McGeady crosses the ball, David MacKay manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Edson Braafheid, save by Graeme Smith.
    • 39:46 The offside flag is raised against Mark Wilson. Graeme Smith takes the free kick.
    • 37:02 Edson Braafheid sends in a cross, Header from close in by Paul McGowan misses to the left of the target.
    • 34:36 Gavin Swankie takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Zaluska.
    • 30:04 Steven Milne takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Zaluska.
    • 27:03 Paul McGowan takes a shot.
    • 22:01 Darren O'Dea fouled by Gavin Swankie, the ref awards a free kick. Darren O'Dea takes the free kick.
    • 20:08 Free kick taken by Landry N'Guemo.
    • 20:08 Booking Booking for Gavin Swankie for unsporting behaviour.
    • 19:31 Gavin Swankie concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul McGowan.
    • 18:47 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Darren O'Dea.
    • 16:49 Unfair challenge on Marc-Antoine Fortune by Daniel Grainger results in a free kick. Mark Wilson takes the direct free kick.
    • 15:25 Edson Braafheid provided the assist for the goal.
    • 15:25 GOAL - Josh ThompsonCeltic 1 - 0 St Johnstone Josh Thompson scores a headed goal from inside the box. Celtic 1-0 St Johnstone.
    • 14:37 Edson Braafheid crosses the ball,
    • 14:37 Substitution Kenny Deuchar leaves the field to be replaced by Stephen Reynolds.
    • 14:37 Free kick awarded for a foul by Paul Sheerin on Mark Wilson.
    • 11:00 Marc-Antoine Fortune sends in a cross.
    • 9:45 David MacKay concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul McGowan. Marc Crosas takes the free kick.
    • 8:41 The assistant referee signals for offside against Robbie Keane. Free kick taken by Graeme Smith.
    • 3:40 Robbie Keane produces a cross, clearance by David MacKay.
    • 0:51 The assistant referee signals for offside against Steven Milne. Lukasz Zaluska takes the free kick.
    • 0:00 The referee starts the match.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Scottish Premier results

    20 Mar 2010 23:59 UK


    Scottish Premier table snapshot

    As it stood on 20 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Rangers 28 48 67
    2 Celtic 29 27 57
    3 Dundee Utd 29 6 49
    4 Motherwell 30 6 48
    5 Hibernian 29 8 47
    6 Hearts 30 -5 40
    7 St Johnstone 28 -7 34
    8 Aberdeen 29 -10 31
    9 Hamilton 29 -18 27
    10 Kilmarnock 29 -16 26
    11 St Mirren 29 -15 24
    12 Falkirk 29 -24 21

    see also
    Mowbray praises young Celtic pair
    20 Mar 10 |  Celtic
    Injuries hampered Saints - Boss
    20 Mar 10 |  St Johnstone


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