Don’t give me any semi-final chat for now, we have a league game ahead, the biggest threat to which is to take your eye of what’s in front of us. For the next six days, the season is one game long.
St Mirren did their homework before coming to Celtic Park yesterday. The Paisley club are five points adrift at the foot of the Championship but for almost an hour were as compact and competitive as any Premiership club against Celtic this season.
There was nothing particularly innovative about their strategy; two banks of four, which seldom had more than five yards between them, with a couple of runners trying to occupy Celtic’s back line, but it wasn’t until the introduction of Patrick Roberts, and, crucially, Leigh Griffiths, that Celtic’s shape was up to the task.
Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair were double-marked throughout as St Mirren sacrificed control down their left. We are at the stage of the season that there can be few surprises from any team, and certainly not from these two. The challenge for Celtic is to exploit other areas of the field.
While Brendan Rodgers was right to give credit to St Mirren for their performance, from what I gather there was a bit of an inquest behind closed doors. We lost a goal to a straightforward set-piece, could easily have been two down early in the second half, and created very little before the opening goal.
Much of the afternoon took on a familiar ‘Celtic treble upset’ look. You and I have been here before. Many times. We got away with it this time, partly because we were playing a team at home who have won only four of 25 Championship games this season, but mostly because we have so much in the tank this season we can raise our game.
St Mirren have marked a few cards; no game can be taken for granted.