Hoops in cruise control at Parkhead

Robbie Keane kept up his impressive scoring rate for Celtic as his penalty helped the Parkhead men to a comfortable 3-0 win over St Johnstone.

Last Updated: 20/03/10 at 17:44 Post Comment

Thompson (c): Opened the scoring

Thompson (c): Opened the scoring

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Teenage stopper Josh Thompson's first goal for the Hoops gave Tony Mowbray's side a half-time advantage before Saints keeper Graeme Smith conceded a penalty in the 67th minute for fouling Marc-Antoine Fortune.

The Republic of Ireland star, who was always a threat, slammed in the spot-kick to take his tally to nine in nine games since arriving from Tottenham in January.

Substitute Georgios Samaras, on for Fortune, completed the scoring with three minutes remaining as the Parkhead men moved 10 points behind SPL leaders Rangers, although they have played a game more.

Mowbray would have been pleased with his team's performance although omens were on their side having scored five then four against the Perth men in the previous two meetings this season.

In essence, Celtic started with a 4-2-4 formation but despite their injury problems the Perth men were equally positive in their approach.

It was clear early on that Keane would test the Saints' rearguard but in the 12th minute it was Fortune who escaped down the right to latch on to a Paul McGowan pass.

However, the former Nancy striker's cross evaded Keane and the ball sped to safety.

The injury-ravaged visitors suffered a blow in the 15th minute when striker Kenny Deuchar limped off to be replaced by Steven Reynolds.

But that was simply the first part of a double-whammy.

Seconds later Edson Braafheid's in-swinging free-kick from wide on the right was met by Thompson who, among a crowd of players, headed past Smith from eight yards.

It was assumed by the home fans that Celtic would go from strength to strength but there were occasional, and rather curious moments of nervousness when the ball arrived in their box which offered hope to St Johnstone.

But in the 28th minute, in a moment of assertiveness, McGowan worked a one-two with Keane then skimmed the bar with an effort from the edge of the box.

The Perth men slowly came out of their shell and 10 minutes from the break Celtic's stand-in skipper Darren O'Dea put in a good block to prevent Gavin Swankie's shot giving Zaluska too much bother.

Moments later, McGowan headed Braafheid's curling cross past the post when it looked like he ought to have at least hit the target.

In injury time, Keane stretched to get on the end of an Aiden McGeady cross and the ball spun over.

While the Saints had worked hard in the first half to keep themselves in touch, it appeared an uphill task for them after the break as Celtic took immediate control.

However, in the 52nd minute, after Thompson had barged Davidson 25 yards from goal to concede a foul, Swankie curled a free-kick past the far post.

There was audible relief among the nervy Hoops supporters who came to life moments later when, from just inside the St Johnstone box, McGeady curled a shot past Smith only to see it rebound off the post and back into play.

It was a grateful Perth side who eventually emerged unscathed from the passage of play and they had more luck moments later when Fortune missed a sitter with his head after Keane had stood up a pin-point cross at the back post.

As Celtic stepped up the pressure, McGeady curled another effort inches over the bar before Smith made a save from Keane.

Smith then made an even better save from Keane when he blocked the Irishman at close range after a great cross from McGeady.

However, in the 67th minute the St Johnstone keeper was beaten to the ball by Fortune and as the Celtic striker went tumbling, referee Calum Murray pointed to the spot, allowing Keane to blast in his ninth goal in nine games since arriving on loan from Spurs in January.

Three minutes from time, Samaras, on for Fortune, made it 3-0 when he planted the ball behind Smith from 14 yards.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Saturday, 23 May 2015
15:00
Hamilton 1-0 St Mirren Report
Kilmarnock 1-2 Ross Co Report
Motherwell 0-0 Partick Report
Saturday, 16 May 2015
Dundee 1-1 Aberdeen Report
Inverness 3-0 Dundee U Report
Partick 1-4 Kilmarnock  
Ross Co 2-1 Hamilton  
St Mirren 2-1 Motherwell  
Friday, 15 May 2015
19:45
St J'stone 0-0 Celtic  
Sunday, 10 May 2015
14:30
Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic Report

Footer 365

Raheem Sterling would interest Manchester City – Sky sources

Manchester City would be interested in signing Raheem Sterling if he were to become available, according to Sky sources.

Alan Pardew not sure Crystal Palace can match fine season in 2015-16

Alan Pardew says it is going to be difficult to repeat Crystal Palace's sensational second half of the season when the 2015-16 campaign starts.

Tim Sherwood expects Christian Benteke to remain Aston Villa player

Tim Sherwood is convinced Christian Benteke wants to stay at Aston Villa, although he has not broached the subject with him.

Mail Box

Only One Real Manager Of The Year

Winning the Premier League with the best squad in the Premier League is only par; Ronald Koeman did a whole lot better. Plus, the last word on Raheem and...

Don't Slate Sterling For Ambition...

Raheem Sterling deserves credit for his desire to quit Liverpool, according to one mailboxer. Also: why football should not be compared to business and Degsy's latest spot of bother...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company