A rotated team in Perth today. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, it was the wrong rotation.
Such a stale and stagnant performance could maybe have been excused had we taken at least a point tonight. But a combination of an ineffective attacking midfield, a lethargic holding midfield two and the fact that the most menacing player in green and white was Efe Ambrose – and not in a positive sense – made this a highly frustrating result.
It took 15 minutes for the midfield trio that some fans have been crying out for all season to create something – make of that what you will. Christie had been the brightest player on the pitch and he whipped in a great ball for Griffiths who was unable to convert.
A pretty forgettable first half and the second half didn’t look much more promising until Griffiths broke the deadlock. Superb pass from Johansen and the deadly Griffiths got his 40th of the season. Not to be scoffed at.
Saints always looked in with a chance of getting themselves back into the game so long as we continued to play so predictably.
But even Steven MacLean must have been a bit surprised at the gift from Stefan Johansen to allow him to deftly chip Logan Bailly. The McDiarmid Park surface may try and claim the assist for this one but it pretty much sums up Johansen’s season.
As if goals couldn’t get any softer, St Johnstone’s second managed to trump it. Never one to be outdone in the clanger department, step forward Efe Ambrose to clatter his own goalkeeper from a harmless cross and give Saints the victory. Maybe if he spent more time using the thing inside his head, Celtic would be in a much stronger position in general. The number of goals he has directly cost us beggars belief.
Christie had one chance stabbed straight at the goalkeeper but Celtic were horrendous. No link-up between full-back and wide-man, absolutely no guile shown from any of these players. Totally ineffective going forward and downright atrocious at the back.
The celebrations on Sunday will certainly be those of relief.
Bailly 6 – Looks a very solid back-up goalkeeper. Dealt well with everything and totally blameless for Efe’s lack of concentration.
Janko 5 – Still trying to find fitness. Fairly anonymous and didn’t seem able to get up and down the channels too freely.
Ambrose 3 – Holy Moses. Three goals in two games is a good goal-SCORING record. It’s downright frightening when you’re almost solely responsible for conceding them. Surely a farewell for Efe.
Sviatchenko 6 – Given captaincy and looked as commanding as one can be with an incompetent partner. Think he’ll improve as part of a strong pairing.
Izaguirre 5 – Loyal servant to the club but this game showed his time is up. Think he knows it. Just not good enough going forward and defensively.
McGregor 6 – Not his finest game but looks a vastly superior player to Brown in that position at the moment. Struggled to create anything but still keeps things ticking in the centre.
Johansen 5 – Started well but just didn’t seem interested. Superb assist but offset by his clanger.
Roberts 6 – Ineffective today. Occasionally bright and has started making better decisions on the ball but still lacks consistent substance to his runs.
Christie 6 – Very promising. Should have had a goal but showed he has real talent going forward. Faded as the game wore on like most of the attack and struggled to create.
Allan 5 – Very poor performance. Has shown nothing in a Celtic jersey in the ample time he has been given. The myth far outweighs the reality of what we’ve seen so far from this player. Seems surplus to requirements.
Griffiths 6 – Got his 40th but was starved. Industrious as always and keeps opposition on their toes.
Nothing to note from the substitutes.