I thought the initial line-up yesterday left us open to a few risks. A lot of responsibility was handed to Liam Henderson and Gary Mackay-Steven – and it was St Johnstone, no one’s mugs.
They caused the trouble we should have expected until the Cavalry arrived.
Once they got their focal point, Celtic were irresistible. The passing was fast and accurate, the movement, sublime, the finishing, unforgiving. Lustig’s rabona, to McGregor’s back-heel, for Dembele’s first-time finish was an appropriate end to an exquisite move.
It’s all about the shape. When Moussa came on yesterday we saw a great example of how a tiny change in the shape of a team can transform their effectiveness. This phenomenon is rife in the game but we seldom see as clear an example. You watch Leicester drop from champions to relegation candidates, or Ronny’s Celtic crumble in the face of a passport, while the same players take points in Germany and England, the changes are too subtle to detect.
This game will live long in the memory for the penalty we got but shouldn’t have, but that incident was drowned in an avalanche of goals. What was missed in all the post-match analysis was Keith Watson’s push on Nir Bitton a second before he headed St Johnstone’s equaliser. Nir was shoved just as he was preparing to leap, as a consequence, Watson headed unchallenged. Another one the referee missed.
Now we get to rest for a week and train normally before the Scottish Cup game against Inverness. This is a rarity, the winter-break aside, we have played two games per week since the middle of November.
If you are a student of physiology, you’ll expect Celtic to kick-on now and really improve.