Saints 0-4 Celtic

Last updated : 05 January 2014 By Stuart Gillespie

We'd done well in the first half. We got lucky with the post a few times and didn't threaten much ourself, but we at least kept Celtic out and there were some bright displays. After the break though we were awful and looked to have forgotten how to defend. We should be lucky we only conceded four.

Again, this will be a shorter report due to the fact it won't be read for some time – and nothing to do with the fact we got gubbed! Surprisingly, we continued with two strikers in the shape of Adam Campbell and Steven Thompson. We haven't done that much in the last few weeks and doing it against Celtic was perhaps a bit risky, especially as the same approach saw us lose at Kilmarnock on Thursday. On the plus side, John McGinn was able to start. Celtic brought Anthony Stokes back into the team in place of Teemu Pukki but that was the only change to their team after the 1-0 win over Partick Thistle on New Year's Day.

We seemed to be overawed of Celtic early on, showing them too much respect and giving them far too much time on the ball. When we had it, we usually gave it straight back. Fortunately, it wasn't costly as we stopped crosses and shots, McGinn and Campbell then combining in a nice move while Paul McGowan also got a bit more involved. However, we nearly messed it up when Charlie Mulgrew almost scored directly from a cross but Marian Kello kept it out with his fingertips.

We weren't doing too badly in attack, although had still to trouble Fraser Forster despite the live wire antics of McGinn and Campbell causing a few problems for the Celtic backline. If a goal was coming it was looking like it would be at the other end, Mulgrew desperately unlucky to see his shot hit the post then fly into Kello's arms when it would normally have bounced into the net instead. That post was clearly against Celtic as the next time it was Kris Commons' turn to hit it and watch in astonishment as his shot flew across goal and went behind. The officials thought it was a corner, despite Kello claiming he hadn't got a touch. He hadn't, but it wasn't a costly set-piece, instead Scott Brown getting a yellow card when he fouled Marc McAusland as we tried to race up the park.

We finally got a shot when a decent move ended with McGinn smashing the ball into the stand from miles out. Commons then headed wide when he should probably have hit the target before we finished the half with a free-kick that Danny Grainger put over.

Our luck with the posts finally ran out early in the second half. Why Adam Matthews was allowed to run in from the right so easily is a mystery, as is how his pass found its way through our defence to Mulgrew. What isn't a mystery is how it ended up in the net, the Scotland international's shot going in with some help, rather than hindrance, from the post this time. A difficult task suddenly became even harder and our hopes could have been wiped out when Commons got space but smashed his shot wide. The arrival of the second was merely delayed though, Izaguirre intercepting Grainger's poor pass and he played the ball to Joe Ledley, who promptly slipped it through to Stokes to bend a fine shot around Kello. Game over.

Sadly, things were about to get much, much worse. Kello denied Brown and Stokes before being left helpless as Commons nodded in Izaguirre's cross from close range. Two minutes later Commons was at it again as no one tracked James Forrest's run and he crossed for Commons to rattle in the fourth. The defending was beyond embarrassing and putting Lee Mair on for Grainger was a clear case of shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted. At least Anton Brady got a run out when he replaced Thompson, but unsurprisingly it didn't stem the tide - a deflection denying Commons a hat-trick before sub Amido Balde headed over.

There was a brief, if somewhat late and pointless, rally from Saints – McGinn having a shot blocked, McGowan lashing wide than Ambrose somehow only being booked for flattening Reilly when he was clean through on goal. It would no doubt have been a red at the other end, but we can't blame the ref for this one. We were just atrocious in the second half.

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