- Celtic 4-0 St Mirren
It was back to league action for the men in Hoops following on from the Christmas break, a straight forward yet dull win against Airdrie in the cup gave Oli Burke and Tim Weah there debuts, tonight Celtic hosted bottom side St Mirren who coming into the game had picked up just 10 points in 13 games.
Celtic lined up in there regular 4-2-3-1 with Scott Bain keeping his place in goal while Oli Burke also started for Celtic as the league leaders looked to start the new year off with a bang.
Tim Weah (64)
Ewan Henderson (71)
Celtic dominated possession in the early stages of the game with St Mirren playing a deep block and tightening the space between the lines, this forced Celtic to remain patient and try to find little pockets of space or go out wide shifting the ball side to side looking for space in behind. It remained that way for around 10 minutes until James Forrest won a free kick out wide right after beating his man, a great ball in from Ryan Christie was met by Oli Burke who headed home to open his account for the club but more importantly giving Celtic the lead on the night. It was the perfect start for the Hoops and it took a weight off Burkes shoulders.
Burke showing us his * face
Celtic then won a penalty shortly after the first goal, Scott Sinclair who had begun the game well was brought down in the box, having missed a penalty at the weekend vs Airdrie he stepped up once again to try and make amends, Sinclair did indeed find the back of the net this time giving the keeper very little chance despite him diving the right way, it was 2-0 Celtic and the game looked to be already over only 20 minutes in.
Sinclair dispatching the penalty he won
It was becoming to get a whole lot easier for the men in hoops as they dominated the game, St Mirren couldn’t get a sniff inside the Celtic half let alone area, Celtic should of added a third when some good pressing saw the ball fall to James Forrest 35 yards from goal, his pass into the backed up Burke saw the striker do a lovely spin and play in McGregor through on goal however the Scotsman fired over when he really should of scored. Celtics next chance came shortly after when the ball found Sinclair in the area, some neat foot work from the Englishman saw him get a half chance to shoot but his shot went out for a corner.
Emilio Izaguirre was the next player to take a pop at St Mirrens goal, Celtic won the ball back on half way and began to build up with the ball coming out wide left to Izzy, the left back managed to beat his man and attempted a right footed finesse shot from Fifa 14 but it just went past the post. Past the half hour mark it was still all Celtic, Sinclair and Christie played a neat 1-2 on the edge of St Mirrens box which saw Sinclair get in behind his man but his pullback cleared just as it was falling to the on rushing Burke. Celtic then spent about 2 minutes playing it around St Mirrens penalty area as the away side just camped on the edge of their box in a compact shape hoping to nick the ball back or for Celtic to overplay it, to the Paisley sides credit they defended the move well and won the ball back but that passage illustrated Celtic dominance on the game.
Scott Sinclair was having a fantastic game and managed to win Celtic a free kick on the left just outside the area, the resulting ball put in by Christie was met by Lustig, the swede connected well with the header, but it was Easley dealt with by the St Mirren keeper. A flurry of Celtic corners came to nothing while St Mirren had an effort from the edge of the area which Bain caught, Celtic went into the break with a 2-0 advantage.
The second half began much as the first ended, Celtic on top with two penalty appeals getting turned down in quick succession, the first one saw Oli Burke clipped on the edge of the box, Celtic tv’s footage is pish so it was hard to see if it was, the second one saw some really good play from Celtic and a long ball flicked onto burke on the edge of the area, Burke played a reverse pass through to Sinclair and Mcgregor with the latter taking the ball and falling however it didn’t look like a penalty but Celtic were well on top.
The third did come following some great wing play from Forrest who played the ball to McGregor inside the area, McGregors first shot was brilliantly saved as was Christies follow up shot but Oli Burke was on hand to smash the ball into a pretty much empty net to get his second and Celtics third, it was game over and Burke was now on a hat trick.
Scott Sinclair had a chance to grab his second and Celtics fourth when the ball fell to him from some good pressing but after running into the box, he tried pulling it back to Oli Burke were as a shot would of probably been better but it was great selfless play. Just after the hour mark Tim The Hun Slayer Weah was primed and ready to come on and he replaced number 25 Oli Burke who had an excellent night and showed many people who had doubted the point of his 6 month loan spell that he was a player with good goal scoring instinct and had plenty to give, his none stop running was great to see and hopefully he pushes on and grabs many more goals for Celtic.
Weah who hit the post within minutes of coming on (though he was offside) should of got his first league goal for the club when James Forrest cut inside from the right brilliantly and played the American in but his shot was well saved past the post, the American will be disappointed not to find the net. Ewan Henderson was stripped and ready to make his first Celtic league appearance and he replaced the impressive Ryan Christie.
A spectator for the evening dressed in keepers attire
The game was literally the definition of attack vs defence, Celtic just playing the ball around St Mirrens final third while the away team had set up such a low block that they had no chance of countering, Sinclair cut inside from the left and shot wide but truth be told Celtic were happy to keep possession and St Mirren were happy to not concede any more goals.
The final 10 minutes were upon us and they started with a couple of St Mirren corners neither coming to much and a St Mirren wide free kick which was put in very well from Greg Tansey but there were no takers for St Mirren. Celtic carried on passing the ball around looking to find a * in St Mirrens armour just retaining possession and looking for 1-2’s in behind St Mirrens defence, St Mirren as per all this game were just happy to sit back and to there credit defended resolutely.
However the * in the armour was found when some more patient build up found Ewan Henderson outside the box and he played a sublime ball in behind to the lively Tim Weah who slotted home to make it 2 in 2 for him, Weah who had been impressive in his cameo looked very sharp and made a number of very intelligent touches and runs.
2 games 2 goals for Tim Weah
Forrest looks on as Weah makes it 4
James Forrest played a good 1-2 with Ewan Henderson and found himself through on goal but the keeper came out and saved well, Henderson then tried to lob the keeper with the re bound but it just went over. Forrest and the very impressive Weah linked up well with Forrest taking a pop from 20 yards but it was deflected out for a corner which came to nothing and with that the final whistle was blown.
A good performance from Celtic with many players including new signings Burke and Weah playing very well, Ewan Henderson played his part when we came on while Scott Sinclair was very impressive but it was a night were no Celtic player would of scored below 7 in player ratings, St Mirren offered very little going forward but showed some good defensive shape and there season will not be defined by losing away to Celtic. The Hoops moved 2 clear of nearest rivals Kilmarnock after they defeated Rangers 2-1 at home to move into second, Steve Clarkes side have been mighty impressive over the last 18 months. Next up for the Hoops are the struggling Hamilton at Parkhead on Saturday were we will all be hoping for another high scoring home win.