3 talking points as Celtic awake from St Mirren slumber after Cameron Carter Vickers sparks roaring second half

League leaders Celtic gutted out a 2-0 win over St Mirren to maintain their three-point advantage over title rivals Rangers.

Cameron Carter-Vickers was the hero as his powerful half-volley hit the net in the 55th minute to pop a hole in the pressure bubble building inside Celtic Park.

Captain Callum McGregor made no doubt with an emphatic finish to down Stephen Robinson’s stuffy side amid much resistance.

Ange Postecoglou’s men once again lacked the offensive fireworks which have illuminated their season but their was a steely resolve which got them over the line.

And the vital victory keeps them three clear of Rangers.

The Buddies contained the league leaders well but all their early good work was almost undone by one reckless slash of the boot from Charles Dunne.

The Irishman got just enough on it to spin it up in the air but exhaled when it landed on top of Jak Alnwick’s crossbar.

But out of that moment of terror for the visitors, it was relatively sedate but Daizen Maeda was the flicker of light for a side who appeared to have escaped the lethargy which beset them against Hibs.

The Japanese striker would claim a dummy but his fresh air swipe led to Liel Abada getting a shot away from 10 yards out but Alnwick showed his superior shot-stopping ability.

But the Saints had their own moment and Hart did well to hold firm as he beat Joe Shaughnessy to the ball after Carl Starfelt’s tackle slowed Curtis Main.

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Plenty of huffing and puffing ensued before the interval with Josip Juranovic and the aforementioned Maeda both cursing their luck as speculative efforts didn’t hit the target.

Jota was next to try his luck but his tepid attempt was gleefully palmed away by Alnwick with Maeda in his line of vision.

But the early agitation was nearing full blown apoplexy by the time the half time whistle arrived as every misplaced pass was met with annoyance from the natives.

Robinson and his St Mirren would have expected an onslaught but it was more one-paced football, for the most part, during the early exchanges of the second period.

There was a flicker of light after Matt O’Riley found the target after a period of pinball in and around the Saints’ box.

And the quickly became a flame as the pressure mounted in the minutes leading to the USA international’s fizzing finish that broke the deadlock.

That released the self-inflicted headlock it appeared Celtic were gripped in, as some of their best football in weeks followed, at times, as subs Tom Rogic and James Forrest impressed.

Juranovic was left angry with himself as his ridiculously overcooked cross was nearer the Celtic superstore than Maeda’s napper at the front post.

But any late agitation was spared as the skipper tucked home in style to get his side back to winning ways ahead of a crunch clash with bogey side Livingston at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

Here’s 3 talking points from Parkhead

Not Magic Hat

It’s crazy to think Hatate is only 28 days removed from his rampaging display against Rangers that was topped off by two cracking strikes. There’s no point sugar coating it, this was a poor night for a player who looked primed to take over the second half of the season a few short weeks ago.

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He’s been off the pace in recent weeks but this was abject, there was no pace to his play, sloppy passing and and a lack of guile in the final third. A player of serious talent, his drop off from him has been marked, even among a side who have all dipped in recent times. But let’s not forget he’s off the back of a full season in Japan. I have exited in the 64th minute.

banner statement

There wasn’t much time for the spectacular from the Green Brigade, however, a firm message aimed straight at the Parkhead boardroom still has a significant impact. Punters in Scotland ain’t pleased about the looming friendly with Rangers in Sydney and the Ultras singled out the “we’re not half of anything” quote, which earned some kudos on social media amid the botched attempt at 10 In A Row.

Blowback was always coming and the Green Brigade aren’t known for backing down. It’s unlikely to be a singular act of protest.

Rob Rues

The former Motherwell boss will have been pleased with loads of his side’s efforts, however, it’s a second consecutive defeat as Buddies boss. His tenure of him on Paisley wo n’t be determined on losing to Hearts with 10 men and coming up short against the league’s top dogs, that’s for sure.

But the Irishman will be keen to get some points on the board to reignite their hopes of finishing in the top six.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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