Unusually for the Irishman, he named an unchanged team with Hooper and
Georgios Samaras leading the line, however, before the game many eyes were
on the Hoops support.
The Parkhead club should find out tomorrow if they are to face any action from
UEFA after a flare was thrown from the section holding Hoops fans before
Thursday night’s Europa League game against Udinese at the Stadio Friuli.
A banner which was insulting towards European football’s governing body was
also unfurled which led to condemnation from manager Neil Lennon, chief
executive Peter Lawwell and chairman Ian Bankier.
There appeared to be nothing untoward coming from the away support who watched
their side take time to get going, the first attempt on goal coming in the
eighth minute when Hooper headed a Charlie Mulgrew cross wide of the target.
In the 14th minute, with the match stuttering along, Samaras drew a fine save
from Enckelman with long-range drive, the Saints keeper gathering at the
Saints were containing Celtic with some ease but stopper David McCracken was
glad to see his header from Cha Du-ri’s cut back, which spun up into the
air, go over the bar for a corner as Enckelman backtracked to guard his
On the half-hour mark Majstorovic and Robertson clashed heads and while the
Celtic stopper was off for treatment – he was soon replaced by Thomas Rogne
before Robertson was eventually replaced by Carl Finnigan – Hooper missed a
great chance to open the scoring.
The Celtic striker latched on to a pass by Cha inside the St Johnstone box and
appeared to sell Enckelman a dummy but the Saints keeper somehow got his
hand to the shot to push it past the post for another corner which came to
Four minutes from the interval Finnigan fouled Hoops midfielder Ki 25 yards
from goal, in the centre, but Mulgrew’s free-kick was saved by Enckelman.
St Johnstone started the second half strongly and within a minute skipper Dave
Mackay cut inside his Celtic counterpart Scott Brown and drove in a
left-footed shot which Forster saved down low at his left-hand post.
Moments later, Celtic wide-man James Forrest eased past Mackay down the left
and drove across the Saints’ six-yard box, the ball, though, bouncing
fortuitously off St Johnstone left-back Alan Maybury and into the arms of
Then, as the visitors reasserted themselves, Forrest ballooned a cross from
Cha high over the bar from around eight yards out.
In the 57th minute Enckelman made another great save from Hooper at the near
post after the Englishman had reached another fine Cha cross from the right
but it delayed the inevitable only by moments.
After an hour Hooper squeezed the ball past Enckelman from around a yard out
after Saints failed to clear a Mulgrew corner which was first contested by
defender Victor Wanyama.
In the 63rd minute Celtic doubled their lead with a breakaway Ki goal after a
flowing move involving Cha, Forrest and Samaras ended with the South Korean
slamming in from 10 yards out.
The points were effectively sealed with Ki’s goal and the visitors played out
the rest of the game in control and can now turn their attention to their
games over the festive season which might change the landscape at the top of