We thought it might happen. Tony Ralston pulled us out of a hole against Ross County. But we can’t score without Kyogo. We can’t score without Jota. And so it proved. Our game against Ranger put back later in the football calendar. Playing without 60 000 Celtic fans helps only one team. That was a positive. But here’s where it gets tricky. Keep winning is what we prayed for. Six changes to the Celtic team that triumphed at Hampden on Sunday.
No David Turnbull. Liel Abada took many of the nine corners in the first-half and his crossing tended to be poor. Josip Juranovic came on for the last thirty minutes. His crossing was better. He even had a shot on goal from a free kick that whizzed past the post. But on the bright side, the accident that’s already happened, the humble Swede, isn’t in the squad as he’s suspended. But this game would have suited Starfelt. St Mirren offered next to nothing in attack. Scott Bain in goal (don’t know where Joe Hart was). The Celtic keeper had little to do.
Curtis Main bundled him into the net early, then had a decent chance in the box in the second-half. Carter-Vickers almost scored an own-goal.
St Mirren also had their problems to seek. They played with a trio of teenagers in their midfield. Sat in and looked to score from the rare breakaways and from corners and free kicks. Celtic, with around eighty-percent possession, even more in the second half, but still managed to look suspect in defence. Early in the game, Cameron Carter-Vickers, for example, having to make a last ditch tackle on a ball he had in his possession.
But a big night, for the rise of the little men. Owen Moffat broke away near half time and fashioned half a chance, with Rogic and Abada unable to get on his cross ball. But most attacks came down the left (this is a pattern, even without injuries) with Mikey Johnston looked to be our main threat, and have the beating of the Australian full backs, but then faded. In the first five minutes he cut inside, and the St Mirren goalkeeper, Dean Lyness pulled off a terrific save. Liam Scales had two shots on goal, one deflected, neither of which troubled the keeper. Bitton had a free-kick after twelve minutes, which was well saved. Rogic had a pop at goal after twenty-five minutes. Abada scampered around and didn’t get on the end of much.
Five minutes added time after the ninety, but we didn’t score as we did at Ross County. Over thirty shots on the St Mirren goal. We pick up a point from our game in hand, but drop two. A great night for Rangers. They stay six points clear.