- Paradise Awaits Celts and Saints
~~~~~~~~~~ Official TC Match Preview ~~~~~~~~~~
The Bhoys celebrate Tom Rogic's equilizer on Sunday
Celtic Park, Glasgow
Sunday, 9 April 2022
Celtic host St Johnstone this weekend in the final fixture before the split, and with a total of just 6 games remaining, the Bhoys looking to take another step closer to clinching the Premiership.
The Bhoys are potentially just two wins away from regaining the title, after the victory at Ipox last weekend, which has extended the lead to 6 points at the top of the table.
However, the job is not done yet, and no doubt this will be the message that Ange Postecoglou will be drilling into his side, to safeguard against any complacency and ensure there are no dropped points after the hard earned win last weekend.
Cameron Carter-Vickers scored the decisive goal in a Man of the Match performance
Lining up against the Hoops is St Johnstone and the Perth club's fortunes could not have been more dramatic, from last season to this.
The Saints finishing 5th in the League and achieved the remarkable feat of lifting both the League Cup and Scottish Cup in 2020/21. One year on and it's been a very different story, as the Saints have been in a dogfight for Premiership survival virtually all season, and as things stand are just one place above automatic relegation.
However, the visitors have hit the best patch of form this season at the most crucial time, claiming 10 points from their last 6 games, including consecutive wins over Motherwell and Livingston, which has propelled them 6 points clear of Dundee at the foot of the table.
While this has eased some of the immediate fears around Perthshire, the Saints still trail St Mirren and Aberdeen by that same margin, and will be hoping to overcome that after the split, if they are to avoid a tricky Play Off for their Premiership survival.
The last time these sides met was on Boxing Day, when a depleted Celtic side secured a 3-1 victory, thanks to Rogic orchestrating proceedings, Liel Abada's brace and Nir Bitton also getting on the scoresheet. Co-incidently, it was the last sighting of Kyogo, with the Japanese striker lasting just 15 minutes before being forced off.
With so much still at stake for both clubs, nothing can be taken for granted and Celtic will need to put in another strong performance to ensure all 3 points are claimed and take another step towards the Premiership title.
Boxing Day 2021: Liel Abada struck twice when these sides last met
By the Numbers
- Celtic are undefeated in 32 domestic games (League & Cup combined), since mid-September.
- The Hoops have won 12 of the past 13 League matches since Christmas, with the only blemish to that record being a 0-0 draw with Hibs in February, earning 37 from a possible 39 points in that period.
- The Bhoys are undefeated domestically at Parkhead since January 2021, and have not dropped a single point against all Scottish opposition at home since October.
- Celtic have conceded just 4 goals at home in the League this season, while the Saints have managed to score only 7 on their travels.
- Indeed, such as been the visitors' travel sickness this season, they have not picked up a single point on the road when they've conceded the first goal.
- The Saints come into this game on the back of consecutive league wins - the first time they've managed that this season.As for the Perthshire outfit, they will be without Tony Gallacher for the remainder of the season, as scans revealed a fractured bone in his leg. There is also a doubt over fellow defender, Daniel Cleary, who was on the receiving end of a nasty challenge during the Livingston match last weekend, resulting in a foot injury which required extensive stitches.
Kyogo has not featured since these sides last met but could be back in action this weekend
Celtic appear to be in pretty good shape for the run-in to the end of the season, which is a stark contrast with the injury woes that plagued the firat half of the campaign. The only real question mark is about the fitness of James Forrest, as the Scottish International winger has been struggling to shrug off a niggle over the past few weeks that has hampered the winger's return to full training.
The Bhoys however could welcome back Kyogo Furuhashi this weekend. The striker was reportedly close to a return last week, but Postecoglou decided not to risk him. As it happens, Kyogo's last appearance was against St Johnstone on Boxing Day, when he was forced off after just 15 minutes.
Elsewhere, David Turnbull should also be available, even though he was subbed off as a precaution on Sunday.
~~~~ Head to Head ~~~~
P: 151 W: 98 D: 32 L: 21
Last 5 Meetings
W W W W W
Home v STJ
W W W D W
~~~~ 2021/22 Form ~~~~
W W W W W ~ W W D L L
CEL Home ~ STJ Away
W W W L W ~ D L D L W
W W W W W ~ W W D L L