Anthony Stokes' strike saw Celtic ease to victory against St Johnstone on a comfortable evening for Neil Lennon's men.

The SPL champions, showing seven changes from the side that won the Old Firm derby, started sluggishly.

Stokes struck the only goal from close range after Mark Wilson centred from Dylan McGeouch's short corner.

Mo Bangura came close to a second for Celtic and Murray Davidson spurned St Johnstone's best chance.

Celtic aimed to continue the momentum from last weekend's win against Rangers, while the visitors were looking for a victory to move level on points with fourth-placed Dundee United.

Bangura, who has been plagued by injury since his £2.2m move from AIK in August 2011, looked sharp and linked up well with Kris Commons and Emilio Izaguirre.

And the Sierra Leone international almost touched home a low cross after clever work by McGeouch but Stokes was at the far post to slot home.

Bangura tested St Johnstone keeper Alan Mannus with a 25-yard shot moments later as Celtic looked to double their lead.

St Johnstone's forays forward in the first half were few and far between but Liam Craig fizzed a free-kick narrowly wide of Lukasz Zaluska's goal 10 minutes before the break.

The visitors spurned a great chance to equalise on the stroke of half time; Jody Morris playing in Murray Davidson who saw his shot saved by Zaluska and Kelvin Wilson cleared the danger.

Bangura struck the post after a couple of impressive stepovers inside the penalty area and St Johnstone skipper Morris chipped a great chance wide moments later.

Steve Lomas's side, minus the suspended Fran Sandaza, lacked a spark in the final third in offering support to Cillian Sheridan although they did become more adventurous in the final 25 minutes.

Derek Riordan fed Alan Maybury and his whipped cross into the box was begging to be flashed home but Sheridan failed to connect.

Stokes, with nine minutes remaining, found himself in space on the left and tried to dink a low cross into Bangura's path but St Johnstone repelled the danger.

Substitute Gary Hooper sent a shot inches wide of Alan Mannus's goal in the closing stages as the game became stretched.

Former PSV Eindhoven midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim came on to make his debut and his cross gave Hooper the chance to fire home but his effort was chalked off for offside.

The closing moments were disrupted when referee assistant Raymond White twisted his ankle and was replaced by the fourth official.

However, it failed to knock the hosts off their stride as they claimed victory.

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (5)

Celtic

  • 24 Zaluska
  • 03 Izaguirre
  • 06 Wilson
  • 12 Wilson (Cha Du-Ri - 74' )
  • 25 Rogne
  • 16 Ledley
  • 46 McGeouch (Hooper - 68' )
  • 67 Wanyama
  • 10 Stokes
  • 14 Bangura
  • 15 Commons (Ibrahim - 74' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Forster
  • 11 Cha Du-Ri
  • 23 Lustig
  • 39 Blackman
  • 40 Ibrahim
  • 17 Brozek
  • 88 Hooper

St Johnstone

  • 15 Mannus
  • 03 Davidson
  • 06 Anderson
  • 12 Maybury
  • 18 McCracken Booked
  • 04 Morris
  • 07 Millar (Riordan - 42' )
  • 08 Davidson
  • 10 Craig
  • 20 Adams (Haber - 76' )
  • 11 Sheridan

Substitutes

  • 01 Enckelman
  • 31 Moffat
  • 14 Moon
  • 42 Hutchinson
  • 22 Oyenuga
  • 23 Haber
  • 47 Riordan
Ref: Crawford
Att: 50,297

Match Stats

Shots

11 6

On target

6 1

Corners

5 4

Fouls

8 12

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:09 Full time

Full Time The referee brings the game to a close.

90:00 +3:53

Liam Craig delivers the ball, clearance by Thomas Rogne.

90:00 +1:07

Gary Hooper is caught offside. Alan Mannus takes the free kick.

90:00 +0:03

Mohamed Bangura takes a shot. Blocked by Callum Davidson.

89:15

Emilio Izaguirre crosses the ball, David McCracken makes a clearance.

87:35

Thomas Rogne concedes a free kick for a foul on Cillian Sheridan. Derek Riordan restarts play with the free kick.

87:00

Shot from just outside the box by Gary Hooper misses to the right of the goal.

85:19

Steven Anderson takes a shot. Blocked by Kelvin Wilson.

83:42

The ball is crossed by Emilio Izaguirre.

81:48

The ball is sent over by Anthony Stokes, save by Alan Mannus.

79:18

The ball is swung over by Alan Maybury.

76:57

Murray Davidson concedes a free kick for a foul on Victor Wanyama. Free kick taken by Joe Ledley.

75:01

Unfair challenge on Cillian Sheridan by Emilio Izaguirre results in a free kick. Liam Craig restarts play with the free kick.

75:01 Substitution

Substitution Marcus Haber joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jamie Adams.

73:09

The assistant referee flags for offside against Cillian Sheridan. Free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

73:09 Substitution

Substitution Rabiu Ibrahim replaces Kris Commons.

73:09 Substitution

Substitution (Celtic) makes a substitution, with Du-Ri Cha coming on for Mark Wilson.

72:07

Emilio Izaguirre produces a cross.

70:58

Mohamed Bangura produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.

70:09

Inswinging corner taken by Kris Commons from the right by-line, Callum Davidson makes a clearance.

68:56

The assistant referee flags for offside against Cillian Sheridan. Free kick taken by Mark Wilson.

68:46

Callum Davidson produces a cross, clearance made by Mark Wilson.

66:56

Direct free kick taken by Kris Commons.

66:56 Substitution

Substitution Dylan McGeouch goes off and Gary Hooper comes on.

66:56

Murray Davidson concedes a free kick for a foul on Victor Wanyama.

65:14

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Derek Riordan, clearance made by Victor Wanyama.

63:28

Emilio Izaguirre produces a cross, save made by Alan Mannus.

61:49

Effort on goal by Derek Riordan from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.

59:20

Corner taken by Anthony Stokes from the right by-line, Jamie Adams manages to make a clearance.

58:55

The ball is delivered by Emilio Izaguirre, Steven Anderson manages to make a clearance. Kris Commons decides to take a short corner.

57:57

Free kick awarded for a foul by Steven Anderson on Kris Commons. Free kick taken by Victor Wanyama.

57:07

Effort from the edge of the area by Jody Morris goes wide of the right-hand post.

56:09

Shot from just outside the penalty area by Kris Commons misses to the left of the target.

55:30

Mohamed Bangura has an effort at goal from deep inside the box striking the post.

53:43

Corner taken left-footed by Kris Commons, save by Alan Mannus.

52:26

Steven Anderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Mohamed Bangura. Kris Commons has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save made by Alan Mannus.

51:40

Mohamed Bangura challenges Alan Maybury unfairly and gives away a free kick. Alan Mannus takes the direct free kick.

51:03

Liam Craig produces a cross, clearance by Victor Wanyama.

48:39

Joe Ledley takes a shot. Save by Alan Mannus.

48:17

Jamie Adams gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kris Commons. Kris Commons restarts play with the free kick.

47:36

A cross is delivered by Emilio Izaguirre, David McCracken makes a clearance.

45:01

The referee starts the second half.

45:00 +1:04 Half time

Half Time The first half comes to an end.

44:46

Murray Davidson takes a shot. Lukasz Zaluska gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Liam Craig.

43:10

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jamie Adams on Kris Commons. Free kick taken by Kris Commons.

41:04 Substitution

Substitution Chris Millar goes off and Derek Riordan comes on.

39:53

Unfair challenge on Emilio Izaguirre by Chris Millar results in a free kick. Lukasz Zaluska restarts play with the free kick.

38:04

The ball is sent over by Emilio Izaguirre.

37:02

Kris Commons has an effort direct from the free kick, save by Alan Mannus.

37:02 Booking

Booking David McCracken is shown a yellow card.

36:47

Free kick awarded for a foul by David McCracken on Anthony Stokes.

34:11

Victor Wanyama challenges Jody Morris unfairly and gives away a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Liam Craig from the free kick.

32:47

The ball is swung over by Emilio Izaguirre, Steven Anderson manages to make a clearance.

32:14

The ball is swung over by Emilio Izaguirre, Steven Anderson makes a clearance.

31:31

Kris Commons takes a shot. Save made by Alan Mannus.

27:55

Mark Wilson provided the assist for the goal. The ball is sent over by Emilio Izaguirre.

27:55 Goal scored

Goal! - Anthony Stokes - Celtic 1 - 0 St J'stone Goal scored by Anthony Stokes from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Celtic 1-0 St Johnstone.

27:26

Dylan McGeouch decides to take the corner short.

26:12

Shot by Joe Ledley from just outside the area goes over the net.

25:16

Emilio Izaguirre crosses the ball, Jody Morris makes a clearance.

23:54

Kelvin Wilson challenges Murray Davidson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Jody Morris.

22:50

The offside flag is raised against Chris Millar. Emilio Izaguirre takes the direct free kick.

21:32

Free kick awarded for a foul by Victor Wanyama on Jamie Adams. David McCracken restarts play with the free kick.

20:04

David McCracken gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mohamed Bangura. Victor Wanyama restarts play with the free kick.

18:32

Victor Wanyama is adjudged to have handled the ball. Jody Morris takes the free kick. Foul by Dylan McGeouch on Callum Davidson, free kick awarded. Liam Craig takes the free kick.

11:43

Kris Commons fouled by Liam Craig, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Kris Commons.

11:09

Foul by Alan Maybury on Mohamed Bangura, free kick awarded. Kris Commons takes the direct free kick.

10:42

The official flags Steven Anderson offside. Lukasz Zaluska takes the indirect free kick.

10:16

Cillian Sheridan fouled by Thomas Rogne, the ref awards a free kick. Liam Craig takes the free kick.

7:58

Cillian Sheridan produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.

3:34

Emilio Izaguirre crosses the ball, save made by Alan Mannus.

0:53

Corner taken left-footed by Liam Craig, Mark Wilson manages to make a clearance. Inswinging corner taken by Jamie Adams, Lukasz Zaluska fouled by Steven Anderson, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Lukasz Zaluska.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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