Celtic 2-0 St Johnstone: Georgios Giakoumakis scores his first goal and Josip Juranovic scores a penalty
Celtic 2-0 St Johnstone: Georgios Giakoumakis scores his first goal and Josip Juranovic scores a penalty as Ange Postecoglou moves to a Rangers point
- Georgios Giakoumakis scored and Celtic beat St Johnstone 2-0 at home
- Josip Juranovic scored Celtic’s second goal by scoring from the penalty spot
- Celtic’s win means they are one point behind the Rangers, who play on Sunday.
- Ange Postecoglou’s team has won three league matches in a row
Celtic’s first goal from Georgios Giakoumakis in their first start helped the Hoops to a comfortable 2-0 Premiership win over St Johnstone at Parkhead.
In the 35th minute of his fourth appearance since signing from Dutch team VVV-Venlo in August, for a reported fee of £ 2.5 million, the Greek forward confidently converted an Anthony Ralston cross from close range.
Celtic kept pushing in the second half and winger Josip Juranovic added a second from the penalty spot with 10 minutes remaining for Ange Postecoglou’s team to extend their winning streak to four games in all competitions.
Georgios Giakoumakis celebrates after scoring his first goal for Celtic against St Johnstone
Giakoumakis found the net in the 34th minute as Celtic took the lead in the Premiership clash.
Josip Juranovic added a second goal for Celtic from the penalty spot in the 80th minute
There was an air of confidence around Parkhead following a convincing 2-0 Europa League win against Ferencvaros on Tuesday.
As Giakoumakis made his first start, Juranovic came back from a four-game injury absence.
Saints boss Callum Davidson made four changes with defenders Jason Brown and Liam Gordon, forward Glenn Middleton and midfielder Craig Bryson, all returning, the latter in his first season start.
It was not the usual start of the game for the locals.
A jubilant Juanovic celebrates after his penalty made Celtic 2-0 against St Johnstone
James Brown of St Johnstone vies for possession with Jota of Celtic at Celtic Park
However, Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark came to his team’s rescue in the 12th minute when he blocked with his right foot a controlled 25-yard drive by Celtic captain Callum McGregor, which cut through a forest of legs.
Celtic: Deer; Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Starfelt, Juranovic; Rogic, McGregor, Turnbull; Furuhashi (Abada 81), Giakoumakis (Johnston 61), Jota (Ajeti 86)
Subs: Bitton, Bain, Montgomery, Welsh
Aim: Giakoumakis 34, Juranovic 80 (pen.)
St Johnstone: Clarke; Ambrose, Gordon, McCart; Brown, MacPherson, Bryson, Booth; Middleton (Crawford 63), Kane (Vertainen 85), Wotherspoon (May 70)
Subs: Devine, May, Parish, Muller, Craig
Reserved: MacPherson, Bryson, Ambrose, Gordon, Kane
The home team slowly strengthened their grip on the game and began to open up St Johnstone’s defense, demonstrated by an attractive center who found no receivers from Japan international Kyogo Furuhashi, who had moved to the right to accommodate Giakoumakis.
That tactical change from Postecoglou soon paid off, although Celtic’s goal came after a lapse from Callum Booth.
Juranovic’s shot from outside the box was deflected high in the air and when St Johnstone’s full-back missed what looked like an easy punt, Ralston lunged for the ball and crossed for Giakoumakis to easily pass Clark.
McDiarmid Park defender Jamie McCart headed a corner over the crossbar early in the second half before Cammy MacPherson sent a floating volley from the edge of the box.
McGregor’s deflected shot had Clark struggling as the ball flicked past a corner that came to nothing before Giakoumakis was replaced around the hour by winger Mikey Johnston, with Furuhashi moving to the center.
There was a cry for a penalty in the 74th minute for Celtic when visiting striker Clark tangled with Portuguese striker Jota inside the box at the start line, but referee Nick Walsh did not allow it.
Then there was an outburst when Saints forward Chris Kane clashed with home defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, both booked before a Gordon tackle on Furuhashi just inside the penalty area and referee Walsh signaled the spot.
Juranovic stepped up to send Clark down the wrong path with the resulting penalty to effectively secure the points with Johnston shooting the post in the final moments of another victory that keeps Postecoglou’s team going.
Celtic’s Juranovic tries to win the ball from Glenn Middleton of St Johnstone
Celtic coach Ange Postecoglou oversaw his team’s victory as they beat St Johnstone