RYAN CHRISTIE has admitted Celtic were “desperate” to beat St Johnstone for a third time last night to ensure they moved six points clear at the Premiership pinnacle.

The gifted Scotland international playmaker scored a memorable second goal only two minutes after Callum McGregor had fired the champions ahead with a well-drilled left drive that sizzled low beyond the Perth side’s heroic keeper Zander Clark.

The Saints, who lost 1-0 in the Betfred League Cup and 6-0 in the Premiership to Brendan Rodgers’ men ahead of last night’s encounter, played it tight in the opening 45 minutes and, as expected, relied on breakaways.

Christie said: “We always knew it was going to be a bit frustrating to start off with. The manager said at half-time that in the first 20 minutes we had plenty of possession, but lacked that real cutting edge.

“We were a little bit better towards the end of the first-half, but in the second-half we changed it and looked much more of a threat.

“Coming into the game, we knew how important it was and we were desperate to win. We’re obviously delighted with the win, but the hard work certainly doesn’t stop here.

“The last thing we want to do now is rest on our laurels. We’ll go straight into the weekend now and hope to push on.”

Christie, 23, added: “We want to keep going, keep scoring goals and keep being an attacking threat.

“As we’ve learned this season, you need to rack up that goal difference as much as you can when you get the chance. And that’s something we’ll continue to keep doing.

“The flip side of that is our defence. We’ve had four clean sheets since we’ve come back from the break and that’s amazing.

“Fair play to all the defenders as it’s not been the same back four, people have been coming in and out. That’s brilliant for them.

“As long as we’re scoring at one end and not conceding at the other, it’s a great formula.”

The Hoops will hope to take the same form into Sunday’s visit to McDiarmid Park for a second successive game against Tommy Wright’s well-drilled outfit.

All eyes will be on James Forrest who rattled in a four-goal first-half blast when the teams met in October.

There was no stopping the winger that afternoon and he came close to adding to his tally against the Saints last night.

Possibly he will enjoy better fortune at the weekend.

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