RONNY DELIA was slightly more frustrated post match today than usual as he considered the wasted chances and the late comeback from a spirited St Johnstone side that almost earned the home side a point.
Leigh Griffiths could have had a first half hat-trick and other chances came and went as Celtic entered the latter stages of today’s match with a two goal cushion. Goals from Griffiths – even quicker at 35 seconds than Garyy Mackay-Steven’s effort on Wednesday night – and Stefan Johansen looked like being more than enough before St Johnstone’s fightback. Delia certainly reflected on those missed chances after the 2-1 victory saying:
‘We always go out to play at 100 per cent and we should have scored more goals on the chances we created.
‘But I’m happy to have got the three points. It’s always tough to come here. They were aggressive, direct and good at set-plays.’
Some comments on CQN this afternoon suggested that Celtic went into cruise control a little too early, perhaps with an eye on Inter Milan next week and the Celtic manager had this to say on the three substitutions he made, withdrawing Griffiths, Armstrong and Mackay-Steven:
‘We have to save all the energy we can and use all the players in the squad so that’s why we made the subs.;
It was left to Craig Gordon to pull off a double wonder save in the 89th minute to prevent an equaliser. The big goalkeeper, who is perhaps one of Celtic’s best ever signings, had this to say post-match:
‘It was a difficult game and this is always a hard place to come to. It’s a bobbly pitch and they’ve put absolutely everything into the game.
‘It’s always a test away from home and they gave a good account of themselves and nearly nicked something near the end.
‘It’s always difficult when you play a second game after a midweek game so it was just as well we got an early goal.
‘The early goal was brilliant. That’s two games in a row and you don’t often see that.
‘It put us in good position early in the game and we had to dig deep and defend. Virgil made then a few good headers at the end and we managed to keep them out and get the three points.’
The down side for Craig Gordon today was the loss of a goal which ended the shut out record set by Fraser Forster for Celtic last season. Craig had this to say about losing a goal:
‘I was annoyed we lost the first goal and didn’t want to lose any more. We came close to dropping a couple of points that didn’t look likely for large parts of the game and I was happy to contribute to the three points.’
Ronny Delia was quick to acknowledge his goalkeeper’s performance saying:
‘It just shows his class to do something like that when you almost haven’t had a save before.
‘It was an unbelievable save.’