Sunday 18th September 2022. K.O. 12 noon
St.Mirren Park. Paisley
ST. MIRREN 2-0 CELTIC
Scorers: O’Hara (43) Ayunga (53)
Things happen when you least expect them and that was definitely the case when Celtic took a short trip to Paisley to face St. Mirren in the League. So many factors were at play it is difficult to pinpoint what went wrong.
The fans were quick to blame the silver third strip which did clash poorly with the Saints jerseys and was possibly at fault for any hesitation in passing during the game. For me it was all down to the players and maybe a wee bit on Ange for so many changes to the team. However I will admit, I was one of those who wanted changes and in that respect the players should be ready when called upon.
Anthony Ralston, Welsh, Turnbull, Mooy and Maeda all made it into the starting lineup with Hatate, O’Riley and Jota on the bench. Carter-Vickers, Starfelt and Juranović were nowhere to be seen. Away to St.Mirren straight after a Champions League tie would have been a perfect fit for Giakoumakis but Kyogo led the line. Unfortunately the Wee Japanese striker was absent for large parts of the game but that does happen when your teammates don’t supply the goods.
St. Mirren in their best wisdom (no sarcasm) decided it would be a better idea to mark the passing of The Queen with a minute's applause instead of a silence which would never be adhered to. The Celtic fans in their wisdom thought it a great idea to sing “If you hate the Royal Family Clap your Hands.” This followed earlier protests in games involving Liverpool, Dundee United, Hibs, Aberdeen and Everton. Though the media are all gunning for Celtic.
It was sabotage at it’s finest and regardless of your politics it was very clever. This wasn’t a direct assault on Elizabeth but a protest at the ridiculous notion that a family in 2022 should be allowed to rake in millions and the benefits because they have a majestic Royal title and are much better people than you or I. Those who have been quick to stick the boot in to our support are the same people who were inconsolable when Diana was murdered. Go figure it out.
There was a game to be played and unfortunately The Bhoys forgot to roll their sleeves up and didn’t fancy the attention they received from the Saints players. Our play was disjointed and the fluidity and pressing were missing from our game which made this the worst performance under Postecoglou. The first decent attack or effort came in 43 minutes and it resulted in a goal for The Saints.
It was a routine break on the right wing when Baccus played a short ball to Ryan Strain. He looped a cross into the box where O’Hara was free and easily bulleted a header past Joe Hart to make it 1-0. Celtic had totally switched off and paid for the lack of concentration,
Ange made a double substitution at Half time to try to get some shape into the side when he introduced Hatate and Jota for Mooy and Maeda. It didn’t work as the game seemed to pass the Celts by. To make matters worse St.Mirren pulled further away in 53 minutes with a second goal by Ayunga.
A long throw-in from the right travelled well into the box and was pinged off a couple of heads before landing lovely for Ayunga at the back post to get his head onto it to make it 2-0. For all Celtic’s possession it always looked like St.Mirren would score the next goal.
Giakoumakis and Hakšabanovic were entered into the fray as Abada and Turnbull made way in 57 minutes. We definitely looked more of a danger with GG on but St.Mirren were defending well and there were not enough scraps for Celtic to feed on.
We had a few chances but nothing worth talking about except maybe when Hatate put the ball across goal and the only player there was in a Saints shirt to clear it off the line. As for Hakšabanovic, he needs to concentrate more on the game as he got into petty spats with the opposition and even their fans in the stands. I hope Ange had a word.
It is never a good time or nice to lose a game but let’s get things into perspective Under Postecoglou. It was one day short of a year since we last lost a league game in a 38 game run. We have opened the season on fire, scoring 25 goals in 6 games and conceding only one goal and still top the table with 2 points. Not too shabby in the grand scheme.
We regroup, recover and come back out hungry after the International break to show everyone who is Top Dog in Scotland. Our players had an off day and are entitled to that once a year (Lol) but this team is making great big strides and that pains a lot in the media. We have the best leader in Ange and he rarely gets it wrong. Let’s get behind our Bhoys and let’s leave that third kit in the bag.
MOTM: I can’t give praise when it isn’t there. I am always quick to dish out the plaudits but not in this game.
ST.MIRREN: Carson, Strain, Fraser, Gallagher, Dunne, Tanner, Baccus, Erhahon, O’Hara, Ayunga, Main. Subs: Tait, Shaughnessy, Flynn, Brophy, Kiltie, Henderson, Gogić, Grieve, Urminsky.
CELTIC: Hart, Ralston, Welsh, Jenz, Taylor, McGregor, Mooy, Turnbull, Abada, Kyogo, Maeda. Subs: Giakoumakis, Hakšabanovic, Seagrist, Jota, Bernabei, Abildgaard, O’Riley, Hatate, Forrest
POSSESSION: St.Mirren 20 Celtic 80%
SHOTS: St.Mirren 4 - 19 Celtic
ON TARGET: St.Mirren 2 - 4 Celtic
PASSES: St.Mirren 171 - 688 Celtic
COMPLETION: St.Mirren 47% Celtic 89%