Scottish Premiership
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone0CelticCeltic2

St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic: Neil Lennon's side get late win at McDiarmid Park

By Jordan ElgottBBC Scotland

Late goals from Leigh Griffiths and Patryk Klimala snatched three Scottish Premiership points for Celtic after a difficult game against St Johnstone.

Griffiths was brought on for his first appearance of the season with 15 minutes left, and headed in to break the deadlock in the 90th minute.

Fellow substitute Klimala then made sure of the points deep into stoppage time with a finish at the near post.

The win temporarily moved Celtic above Rangers.

However, Steven Gerrard's side returned to the summit after beating Ross County 2-0. They are a point clear having played a game more.

For St Johnstone, it was a fourth successive league defeat and they have now scored just once in their past seven matches.

Callum Davidson's side had the best chance in regulation time, Craig Conway crashing an attempt against an upright, and the Perth team also had the clearest opportunity of the opening half-hour.

Conway's inswinging ball lured Vasilis Barkas off his line. David Wotherspoon nicked in ahead of him, but he got too much on his header when he just needed to glance it past the Celtic goalkeeper.

With David Turnbull - in for his first start - one of three changes from Thursday's Europa League win in Bosnia, Celtic had the majority of the early possession.

Indeed, they could have had an early penalty had referee Nick Welsh spotted Liam Gordon pulling Shane Duffy's shirt at a corner.

Callum McGregor, then Odsonne Edouard, had openings but St Johnstone went closest when Conway rattled a post after Wotherspoon had picked him out with a brilliant early cross.

That acted as a wake-up call for Celtic. Turnbull mistimed a header after being picked out by McGregor, before Klimala volleyed narrowly wide and Griffiths had an attempt deflected over.

However, when the chance came in the 90th minute, he made no mistake. A searching Hatem Elhamed cross found the Scotland striker, who buried his header past Clark.

There was still time for Klimala to make the game look more comfortable than it was, the Polish forward riding a challenge before rifling in at the near post.

Man of the match - Leigh Griffiths

Leigh Griffiths and Neil Lennon
It could have gone to a St Johnstone defender, but Griffiths proved to be the decisive player

What did we learn?

Celtic's results have been excellent in recent weeks, but it is clear that they are not performing to the best of their ability.

Think back to the start of the year, when they were firing on all cylinders and Griffiths and Edouard formed a fine partnership. Griffiths made his first appearance of the term here and made a real impact.

This was a performance that offered encouragement for St Johnstone. Though they have been on a poor run, they looked confident on the ball and assured in their defending, with the back three especially impressive. With better finishing, they could have won the game.

What did they say?

Davidson 'really pleased' with St Johnstone despite defeat

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: "I thought the players performed to a very high standard and limited Celtic to very few changes.

"I am absolutely gutted for them more than anything else. Celtic bring five quality substitutes on and they are chasing the game."

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "I think the subs gave us more urgency. I think our first half was not good enough, the second was better.

"It is evident Scott Brown's influence on the team. You can't dress up any kind of stats what he brings."

Celtic have 'been waiting for Griffiths' - Lennon

What's next?

After the international break it's the big one for Celtic, the Old Firm game on 17 October. St Johnstone meanwhile, have two League Cup games next week - Kelty Hearts on Wednesday, then Brechin City on Saturday.

Player of the match

MayStevie May

with an average of 7.09

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number14Player nameMay
    Average rating


  2. Squad number15Player nameMcNamara
    Average rating


  3. Squad number3Player nameTanser
    Average rating


  4. Squad number7Player nameConway
    Average rating


  5. Squad number10Player nameWotherspoon
    Average rating


  6. Squad number4Player nameMcCart
    Average rating


  7. Squad number18Player nameMcCann
    Average rating


  8. Squad number6Player nameGordon
    Average rating


  9. Squad number8Player nameDavidson
    Average rating


  10. Squad number5Player nameKerr
    Average rating


  11. Squad number11Player nameO'Halloran
    Average rating


  12. Squad number1Player nameClark
    Average rating


  13. Squad number22Player nameHendry
    Average rating



  1. Squad number9Player nameGriffiths
    Average rating


  2. Squad number11Player nameKlimala
    Average rating


  3. Squad number8Player nameBrown
    Average rating


  4. Squad number30Player nameFrimpong
    Average rating


  5. Squad number4Player nameDuffy
    Average rating


  6. Squad number17Player nameChristie
    Average rating


  7. Squad number1Player nameBarkas
    Average rating


  8. Squad number18Player nameRogic
    Average rating


  9. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
    Average rating


  10. Squad number35Player nameAjer
    Average rating


  11. Squad number44Player nameElhamed
    Average rating


  12. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull
    Average rating


  13. Squad number21Player nameNtcham
    Average rating


  14. Squad number27Player nameElyounoussi
    Average rating


  15. Squad number3Player nameTaylor
    Average rating


  16. Squad number22Player nameEdouard
    Average rating



St Johnstone

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Clark
  • 5KerrSubstituted forHendryat 90+1'minutes
  • 6GordonBooked at 90mins
  • 4McCart
  • 15McNamara
  • 18McCann
  • 8DavidsonBooked at 68mins
  • 3Tanser
  • 7Conway
  • 10WotherspoonBooked at 19minsSubstituted forO'Halloranat 67'minutes
  • 14May


  • 11O'Halloran
  • 12Parish
  • 13Bryson
  • 16Olaofe
  • 19Rooney
  • 20Robertson
  • 22Hendry
  • 24Booth
  • 26Craig


Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Barkas
  • 44Elhamed
  • 4Duffy
  • 35Ajer
  • 30Frimpong
  • 21NtchamBooked at 13minsSubstituted forRogicat 76'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 3TaylorSubstituted forBrownat 82'minutes
  • 14TurnbullBooked at 49minsSubstituted forChristieat 59'minutes
  • 27ElyounoussiSubstituted forGriffithsat 76'minutes
  • 22EdouardSubstituted forKlimalaat 59'minutes


  • 2Jullien
  • 8Brown
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Klimala
  • 12Soro
  • 17Christie
  • 18Rogic
  • 29Bain
  • 57Welsh
Nick Walsh

Match Stats

Home TeamSt JohnstoneAway TeamCeltic
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 2.

  3. Booking

    Liam Gordon (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 2. Patryk Klimala (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Shane Duffy.

  5. Substitution

    Substitution, St. Johnstone. Callum Hendry replaces Jason Kerr.

  6. Goal!

    Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 1. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Hatem Elhamed with a cross.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic).

  8. Post update

    Stevie May (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jamie McCart.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Christie with a cross.

  11. Post update

    Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Michael O'Halloran (St. Johnstone).

  13. Post update

    Foul by Callum McGregor (Celtic).

  14. Post update

    Liam Gordon (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Scott Brown.

  17. Post update

    Offside, Celtic. Scott Brown tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

  18. Post update

    Ryan Christie (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Craig Conway (St. Johnstone).

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Scott Brown replaces Greg Taylor.

As It Stood

7Dundee Utd10325816-811
8Ross County10325716-911
11St Mirren10217615-97
12St Johnstone10217413-97
View full Scottish Premiership table

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