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Celtic 2-0 St Johnstone: Giakoumakis nets on first start

Georgios Giakoumakis opened his Celtic scoring account in the first half
Giorgios Giakoumakis opened his Celtic scoring account in the first half

Giorgios Giakoumakis marked his first start with his maiden goal as Celtic overcame stubborn St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership to extend their winning run to four games.

The Greek striker volleyed the first-half opener following a lapse from visiting defender Callum Booth.

Celtic finally made sure of a deserved victory with Josip Juranovic’s penalty.

The hosts stay fourth, a point behind leaders Hearts, Rangers – who face St Mirren on Sunday – and Dundee United.

St Johnstone’s second successive defeat drops last season’s cup double winners to 10th, two points above second-bottom Dundee.

Giakoumakis, a summer arrival from Dutch side VVV Venlo, was unleashed from the start after impressing in the Europa League win over Ferencvaros, his third outing off the bench.

But the 26-year-old and Celtic were superbly marshalled by St Johnstone until Booth’s mistake undid all the visitors’ diligent defending.

Juranovic’s hopeful shot from distance took a looping deflection into the box where Booth missed his attempted clearance, allowing Anthony Ralston to square for Giakoumakis to volley past Zander Clark.

It brought relief for the hosts and dejection for St Johnstone, who had welcomed back defensive lynchpin Liam Gordon from injury for a first appearance since August.

Bar a Callum McGregor drive stopped by Clark’s outstretched leg, the hosts had struggled to penetrate until Giakoumakis struck.

Kyogo Furushashi, deployed wide right to accommodate the Greek in the central strike role, was a peripheral presence while Jota on the opposite flank was Celtic’s liveliest performer.

St Johnstone came out with fresh impetus after the break, Jamie McCart heading over from a corner and Cammy MacPherson slicing high and wide.

Celtic quickly reasserted control, and McGregor had a drive deflected inches wide, but the hosts were restricted to few clear-cut chances until the closing stages.

The clinching goal arrived when Jota and Kyogo combined, with the Japanese forward – shifted centrally after Giakoumakas went off – was caught by Gordon just inside the box. Juranovic sent Clark the wrong way from the penalty spot.

Tom Rogic and McGregor had drives batted away by Clark, either side of a shot off the post by substitute Mikey Johnston, as St Johnstone avoided further damage.

Man of the match – Jota

The on-loan Benfica winger's case for a permanent Celtic stay grows stronger by the week
The on-loan Benfica winger’s case for a permanent Celtic stay grows stronger by the week

What did we learn?

Celtic have their key men back and are continuing to build momentum after a chaotic start to Ange Postecoglou’s tenure.

Giakoumakis’ goal will bolster the striker’s confidence as he strives for full fitness, and Croatia international Juranovic showed his quality after a four-game injury absence.

While Celtic have now won three league matches in a row, St Johnstone have suffered three three defeats and netted just one goal in four.

Davidson’s side will rue the defensive lapses at both goals, but were solid for the most part while lacking threat at the other end.

Gordon’s return to the heart of defence offers hope of a revival, with three of the Perth men’s next four league fixtures at home.

What’s next?

Both sides are in Premiership action against Edinburgh opposition on Wednesday night (19:45 BST), with Celtic away to Hibernian and St Johnstone hosting Hearts.

Player of the match

JotaJota

with an average of 8.02

Celtic

  1. Squad number17Player nameJota

    Average rating

    8.02

  2. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

    Average rating

    7.77

  3. Squad number7Player nameGiakoumakis

    Average rating

    7.69

  4. Squad number88Player nameJuranovic

    Average rating

    7.59

  5. Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers

    Average rating

    7.53

  6. Squad number18Player nameRogic

    Average rating

    7.51

  7. Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi

    Average rating

    7.47

  8. Squad number4Player nameStarfelt

    Average rating

    7.30

  9. Squad number56Player nameRalston

    Average rating

    7.29

  10. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull

    Average rating

    7.29

  11. Squad number19Player nameJohnston

    Average rating

    7.13

  12. Squad number15Player nameHart

    Average rating

    6.89

  13. Squad number11Player nameAbada

    Average rating

    6.46

  14. Squad number10Player nameAjeti

    Average rating

    6.33

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number18Player nameMacPherson

    Average rating

    7.23

  2. Squad number1Player nameClark

    Average rating

    7.03

  3. Squad number4Player nameMcCart

    Average rating

    6.13

  4. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon

    Average rating

    5.96

  5. Squad number2Player nameBrown

    Average rating

    5.86

  6. Squad number13Player nameBryson

    Average rating

    5.83

  7. Squad number21Player nameCrawford

    Average rating

    5.64

  8. Squad number14Player nameMiddleton

    Average rating

    5.62

  9. Squad number6Player nameGordon

    Average rating

    5.60

  10. Squad number24Player nameBooth

    Average rating

    5.55

  11. Squad number7Player nameMay

    Average rating

    5.16

  12. Squad number9Player nameKane

    Average rating

    5.07

  13. Squad number17Player nameVertainen

    Average rating

    4.43

  14. Squad number25Player nameEfe Ambrose

    Average rating

    4.30

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-3-3

  • 15Hart
  • 56Ralston
  • 20Carter-VickersBooked at 77mins
  • 4Starfelt
  • 88Juranovic
  • 18Rogic
  • 42McGregor
  • 14Turnbull
  • 8FuruhashiSubstituted forAbadaat 81′minutes
  • 7GiakoumakisSubstituted forJohnstonat 61′minutes
  • 17Neves FilipeSubstituted forAjetiat 86′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Bitton
  • 10Ajeti
  • 11Abada
  • 19Johnston
  • 29Bain
  • 54Montgomery
  • 57Welsh

St Johnstone

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Clark
  • 25AmbroseBooked at 79mins
  • 6GordonBooked at 79mins
  • 4McCart
  • 2Brown
  • 18MacPhersonBooked at 29mins
  • 13BrysonBooked at 55mins
  • 24Booth
  • 14MiddletonSubstituted forCrawfordat 63′minutes
  • 9KaneBooked at 77minsSubstituted forVertainenat 85′minutes
  • 10WotherspoonSubstituted forMayat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Devine
  • 7May
  • 12Parish
  • 16Muller
  • 17Vertainen
  • 21Crawford
  • 26Craig

Referee:
Nick Walsh

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Celtic 2, St. Johnstone 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Celtic 2, St. Johnstone 0.

  3. Attempt missed. Josip Juranovic (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Tomas Rogic.

  4. Attempt saved. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  5. Attempt blocked. Michael Johnston (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Josip Juranovic.

  6. Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Cameron Carter-Vickers.

  7. Attempt blocked. Stevie May (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cameron MacPherson.

  8. Attempt missed. Liel Abada (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Albian Ajeti.

  9. Michael Johnston (Celtic) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the left side of the box. Assisted by David Turnbull.

  10. Dangerous play by Carl Starfelt (Celtic).

  11. Eetu Vertainen (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Substitution, Celtic. Albian Ajeti replaces Jota.

  13. Substitution, St. Johnstone. Eetu Vertainen replaces Christopher Kane.

  14. Attempt missed. Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic) header from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by David Turnbull with a cross following a corner.

  15. Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Callum Booth.

  16. Attempt missed. Anthony Ralston (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jota with a cross following a corner.

  17. Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Zander Clark.

  18. Attempt saved. Michael Johnston (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Jota.

  19. Substitution, Celtic. Liel Abada replaces Kyogo Furuhashi.

  20. Goal! Celtic 2, St. Johnstone 0. Josip Juranovic (Celtic) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Sourced From BBC

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