Celtic travelled to Paisley to take on St. Mirren on Sunday at noon. The SMISA Stadium is the only ground Celtic have not won at under Ange Postecoglou and the Buddies are the solitary team to have beaten the Hoops domestically this season.
Both concerning records, though, were banished in this game as the visitors ran out 5-1 victors after a relatively sloppy first half.
Here’s how the players rated.
Joe Hart – 6/10
Other than Mark O’Hara’s early penalty, Joe Hart had little to do in the Celtic goal. The Englishman’s only real touches of the ball when were when he was building up play.
Alistair Johnston – 8/10
In terms of every Celtic starter, Alistair Johnston was the most consistent throughout today’s game. The Canadian was solid in defence and covered the right hand side with ease. He also chipped in with a goal, scoring his first for Celtic as he powered in at the back post to put his side in front just after the hour mark. It was an all round impressive performance from Johnston.
Cameron Carter-Vickers – 6/10
The American didn’t seem to put a foot wrong in defence. Carter-Vickers was constantly on the ball when playing out from the back. His stray shot late on drew a wry smile from his manager although by that point, the game was practically won.
Carl Starfelt – 6/10
Similarly to Carter-Vickers, Carl Starfelt was relatively untroubled at the back. The 27 year old was accurate as ever in his passing and kept his concentration levels high throughout the 90.
Greg Taylor – 6/10
The penalty given against Greg Taylor today was rather harsh. The left back could do little to move his hand out the way. Going on from this, Taylor, like all of his defensive partners, wasn’t noticeable poor as the game went on from the first quarter or so.
Callum McGregor – 6/10
In the first half, Callum McGregor was rather sloppy. The Celtic captain wasn’t consistent at all however he certainly upped his game later on, bringing energy, accuracy and vivacity to his side’s midfield.
Reo Hatate – 7/10
In the first half, Reo Hatate stood out in a poor Celtic team. The Japanese moved the ball around effectively and had a number of shots on goal from which he was unfortunate not to net. He came off for Matt O’Riley just after the hour.
Aaron Mooy – 7/10
Starting in midfield yet again, Aaron Mooy was another Celtic player who wasn’t the best in the first half but better in the second. Against his former club, the Australian was crucial in his side’s go-ahead goal, swinging a tremendous ball in for Alistair Johnston at the back post from a free kick. He was in and around the opposition box constantly before being replaced by Tomoki Iwata with 15 to go.
Jota – 7/10
The Portuguese didn’t have the greatest first half but he grew into the game as it went on. Jota scored the crucial goal which drew Celtic level on 56 minutes with a rather skilful yet forced finish which trickled over the line. Ange Postecoglou was patient with the 23 year old today and it is fair to say said tolerance undoubtedly paid off.
Daizen Maeda 4/10
The Japanese wasn’t his usual effective self on the left hand side this afternoon. Ryan Strain kept Maeda quiet before he was subbed off at half time for Liel Abada.
Kyogo – 5/10
It was an uncharacteristically quiet afternoon for Kyogo. He had next to no opportunities to add to his prodigious 2022/23 goal tally this afternoon and came off for Oh on 66 minutes.
The first of five Celtic substitutes this afternoon, Liel Abada came on at half time for Daizen Maeda. On the right, the Israeli was greatly impactful. He was on the ball constantly after coming on got his reward on 70 minutes, thundering home after Mooy played him in. Then just two minutes later, Abada was involved once more, rolling the ball across goal for Matt O’Riley to slot home from. It is fair to say the decision to introduce Abada from Postecoglou was a masterful one.
Two changes were then made on the 66th minute. Matt O’Riley came on to score his first league goal of the season as described above and Oh was also brought on. He replaced Kyogo and clinically converted the penalty which he won himself.
The final two Celtic alterations of the afternoon saw Sead Haksabanovic and Tomoki Iwata take the places of Jota and Mooy respectively. Haksabanovic was lively out wide although there wasn’t sufficient time for the Montenegrin and Iwata to impact the game like their fellow subs did.
Celtic regained their nine point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership courtesy of today’s win. They will now look to maintain or potentially even extend this advantage on Wednesday evening when they host Hearts.