A Curate’s Egg
Firstly,my apologies for my enforced absence over the weekend. Sinking the nut into an ice-packed road wasn’t,it turns out,a good idea. I’ve never slept so much as I did on Saturday/Sunday,and still not 100%.
Of course,I’ll live-not asking for a sympathy vote. Not bloody expecting one either…
On to yesterday,and what seemed on paper to be a tough away tie turned out to be just that. Yes,we got the points,but they came at no little cost. It all started as early as the first minute,when Kris Ajer headed down onto Tony Watt’s skull. It looked a bad one-it was certainly a sore one!-as Kris lay prone for a few minutes before being helped to the sidelines for further treatment. As I believe he’s just returned from a fractured cheekbone,he could have been forgiven for wrapping it for the day,but he soldiered on.
The first half saw St Johnstone taking it to us on occasion,they had two excellent chances. Scott Bain wasn’t for allowing any blemishes on his clean sheet record,though. I think he has an eye on Big Fraser’s record,personally. The game was settling down into an expected tempo,St Johnstone defending in numbers and looking for a breakaway,while we probed with more urgency and directness than normal on such occasions. Even Wee Willie,the much-maligned arse,entered into the spirit of things by allowing St Johnstone to kick us every chance they got,while pulling us up for even a hint of an infraction.
It’s Gollum,what can you expect? Well,to be honest,you expect him to get the bliddy easy calls right,and he’ll never have an easier decision to make than after 15 minutes! Oliver Burke,clean through and about to pull the trigger from about twelve yards,was cleaned out from behind by a defender. I didn’t even bother claiming it,it was such a stonewaller. Not Willie. He’s got his career to think about,and waved play on.
Snivelling little coward,he even managed to penalise us 16 times to their 12
It wasn’t really end-to-end stuff,Celtic had most of the possession in their opponent’s half,but St Johnstone continued to hit us on the break whenever possible.
Half-time arrived with few talking points bar the penalty incident. Which Kris Boyd,apparently,said was the correct decision. Aye,Kris,and if it had happened to you you would be bleating about it for years to come. Tosser. High time Sky employed people for their knowledge of the game and their punditry skills,rather than their place in the footnotes of a deid club.
The second-half arrived,with yet another enforced change. Mikel Lustig was unable to continue,and we got our first view of on-loan Jeremy Toljan. He had an impressive debut too,rarely putting a foot wrong defensively,and getting his crosses in to dangerous areas. He looks the part,for me.
Although St Johnstone had the best chance of the game so far,when Tony Watt missed a sitter,it was very much one-way traffic. The excellent Burke made way for Odsonne Edouard,who nearly put us ahead within minutes of his arrival. Ryan Christie attacked a ball in the six-yard box,and was attacked himself for his efforts with a boot in the chest. The ball flew back across goal,and as Eddie stretched to reach for it,he got a set of studs straight into his ankle. His game was over,and it looks a worrying one.
On came Timothy Weah,whose speed and skill sets are on a different planet to any normally seen in Perth,and with fifteen minutes to go,he made the telling intervention of the game. Deep into the left-hand side of the box,he got a great cross across the goalmouth. For all of keeper Zander Clark’s excellence on the day,with six great stops,he could do nothing to prevent James Forrest sliding in to score.
1-0 and as much relief as joy,which turned to despair as we lost a third player to injury as Forrest hobbled off with a hamstring problem. This gave St Johnstone added heart as they pressured our ten men,and with a corner put into the box,we panicked not. We broke with three against two,Callum McGregor drove into the left of the box and put in a perfectly-weighted gift for Timothy Weah. I don’t know how much Weah loves our club-yet-but he’s sure enjoying scoring for us. Nearly as much as I enjoyed him scoring that one,it was a textbook break at lightning pace.
There was still more action to come,though no more goals. Having been forced to book Goss and Swanson-who was immediately hauled off,his work done-and Forrest for celebrating off the park,Ajer did something he’d been doing all day,and all season in fact. Received the ball under a little pressure,so swivelled backwards to his left to keep the ball on his right foot. Simply asking for trouble,and the St Johnstone forward robbed him of the ball and ran in on goal. Ajer pulled him down,clear red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity. That there were two Celtic defenders around was incidental,they wouldn’t have got a tackle in in time.
(Never a red though as it can’t be a goslscoring opportunity against our star No 1!)
Overall,you have to be satisfied with that performance. St Johnstone are no mugs,with more clean sheets this season than anyone bar us. Toljan looked like a good acquisition,a player we’ve been crying out for for a while,Weah and Burke continue to impress. Broonie was possibly MOTM,and even Simunovic looked like he was settling into a game. A day of no failures,which is the “good in parts”
The not so good was the injuries. I suspect Lustig was taken off as a precaution,and I sure hope so as he will be needed at CH on Wednesday! But Forrest is probably three to four weeks,and I can only hope that Eddie’s ankle isn’t broken. Even Christie,who has been running through brick walls for us this season,looked by the end as if the wall had fallen on him.
Overall,a satisfying display and a great result,but potentially a very costly one.
Above post by BMCUWP. As you know,you can put your thoughts up for discussion by dropping us a line at