11192017

Celtic break 100-year British record with thumping win at St Johnstone

Celtic's Scott Sinclair and Kieran Tierney celebrate

Scott Sinclair opened the scoring and Kieran Tierney’s jersey marked the record

Celtic broke their own 100-year-old British record of 62 domestic games without defeat with a convincing win over dogged but toothless St Johnstone.

Brendan Rodgers’ side dominated possession before Scott Sinclair side-footed home Stuart Armstrong’s low corner just before the half hour.

It was one-way traffic thereafter in Perth and Moussa Dembele fired in from close range with 18 minutes remaining.

Steven Anderson’s own goal and Olivier Ntcham’s strike completed a famous day.

St Johnstone, who started the day sixth in the table, were the last Scottish team to defeat the Premiership leaders and drew 1-1 in their most recent meeting.

But Tommy Wright’s injury-hit side went into this encounter without a goal in a run of five games without a win and against a team who had only conceded six times in their opening 11 league matches this season – their best start to a season since 2003-04.

The Perth side had been unable to muster a win in five meetings with Celtic since that 2016 win at McDiarmid Park, losing four in a row until that August draw in Glasgow, and never looked like denying Rodgers’ side another significant milestone.

You get the feeling the weight of history sits fairly comfortably on the shoulders of the Celtic players.

Celtic celebrate their new record<!–

Celtic broke the record established by Willy Maley’s 1917 side

After becoming treble-winning invincibles last year, the domestic unbeaten run record was simply another step in their quest to steamroller mercilessly over the rest of Scottish football.

Rodgers was taking no chances though and named the same 11 who had impressed in the midweek Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich.

In stark contrast, they were facing a St Johnstone side who had failed to find the net since the end of September – it was a fixture that screamed away win.

Celtic took control as expected, but despite early waves of attack in the Perthshire sunshine, the home side stood firm.

Dembele and Sinclair linked up well inside the box and looked dangerous, but Celtic were giving the Saints the odd sniff in the form of some central-defensive mix-ups.

Celtic’s patience this year has been every bit as deadly as their high press. They push and probe and bide their time, knowing the chances will come.

Armstrong fired in a low corner from the right-hand side and Sinclair was deadly from five yards out, sweeping the ball past goalkeeper Zander Clark to secure the lead.

It was the cue for the travelling support to start their party and, as the fans increased the noise levels, the Celtic players responded and upped the tempo.

Celtic's Olivier Ntcham scored the fourth goal<!–

Olivier Ntcham scored Celtic’s fourth goal in Perth

In the late autumn sunshine, St Johnstone were left chasing shadows.

So it continued into the second half and Aaron Comrie was forced to header off the line and on to the bar from a Dedryck Boyata header.

In the rare St Johnstone forays forward, they lacked belief and conviction and a Celtic back line, which at times looked a little shaky, was rarely threatened.

The new record was in the bag midway through the second half when the green and white machine once again breached the wall of blue.

Armstrong powered down the left-hand side and his cross was delicately clipped in from close range by Dembele.

The celebrations were barely over when Anderson turned the ball into his own net to compound the home side’s misery.

It was exhibition stuff for the league leaders after that as they toyed with and tormented St Johnstone with slick one-touch football that was a joy to watch.

When substitute Ntcham drilled in number four at the end of another fabulous passage of play, a century-old record was smashed.

At the end, they took their bow in front of the thousands who had come to watch history. Sixty three and counting.

Live Text

Match ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 4.

Second Half ends, St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 4.

Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 4. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Scott Sinclair.

Attempt blocked. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Nir Bitton.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Michael O’Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Paul Paton (St. Johnstone).

Substitution, Celtic. Jonny Hayes replaces James Forrest.

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Kyle McClean replaces Richard Foster.

Substitution, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Own Goal by Steven Anderson, St. Johnstone. St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 3.

Attempt saved. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Goal! St. Johnstone 0, Celtic 2. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Stuart Armstrong with a cross.

Attempt saved. Steven MacLean (St. Johnstone) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Richard Foster (St. Johnstone) header from the centre of the box misses to the right.

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Liam Craig replaces David Wotherspoon.

Mikael Lustig (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Steven Anderson (St. Johnstone).

Corner, St. Johnstone. Conceded by Nir Bitton.

Attempt saved. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt saved. Nir Bitton (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by David Wotherspoon (St. Johnstone).

Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

Foul by Tomas Rogic (Celtic).

Michael O’Halloran (St. Johnstone) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Callum McGregor.

Attempt missed. James Forrest (Celtic) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Attempt blocked. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Substitution, St. Johnstone. Michael O’Halloran replaces Stefan Scougall.

Attempt missed. Callum McGregor (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Paul Paton (St. Johnstone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

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