Celtic collected all three points from St Mirren Park at lunchtime today but were under the cosh for most of the game. James Forrest opened the scoring in the 71st minute before Scott Brown secured the points two minutes from time to secure Celtic’s 11th consecutive SPL win.
Marc McAusland forced an early save from Fraser Forster on the goal line as a notice of intent on how the first half traffic was going to flow before Gary Hooper made Celtic’s only attempt on goal in the first half, a hooked shot from 35 yards. After 15 minutes a Mulgrew corner was headed towards his own goal by Steven Thompson, who was fortunate the ball struck his own player on the line. Five minutes alter Thompson tested Forster with a header at the other end which was saved well. Graham Carey had a good chance late in the first half but shot wide from a tight angle.
The second half started in much the same patter with St Mirren flowing forward at every opportunity and Celtic looking out of sorts. Paul McGowan setup Dougie Imrie on his St Mirren debut but Forster saved well again. The home team’s best chance of the game came when a Van Zanten shot from just outside the box was flicked towards the opposite post by McGowan but Forster somehow managed to twist his body and flick the ball safe.
Neil Lennon realised his formation wasn’t working and withdrew Samaras and Ki for Stokes and Commons, the addition of the latter proving crucial. Commons set pieces, intelligent use of his body and possession troubled St Mirren. On 59 minutes his corner was met by Rogne, whose goal-bound header struck McAusland on the raised arm, although the defender knew little about it.
On 71 minutes a Commons free kick was punched clear by Samson by Scott Brown met it at the edge of the area before rolling the ball in front of James Forrest. The Celtic wide player shot first-time from 19 yards and found the inside of the post to open the scoring.
St Mirren continued to push forward and McAusland forced yet another save by Forster. Hooper played a one-two with Stokes before shooting narrowly wide but a minute later Imrie came just as close to drawing St Mirren level.
An 88th minute short corner by Commons to Scott Brown caught St Mirren sleeping. The Celtic captain slipped a left foot shot inside the far post, a carbon copy of his Scottish Cup goal against Rangers last season.
A minute from time a Commons free kick was headed in off the post by Thomas Rogne but the assistant referee incorrectly flagged for offside despite the Celtic defender being four yards onside. The game poor advert for the SFA officials with a bizarre collection of mistakes made over which team knocked the ball out of play at corners and throw–ins.