FULL-TIME. Celtic secure the win and move a step closer to securing the SPL title. Disappointing for St Johnstone, who lose for the first time since early February.
- 2nd Half
- Millar (o.g.)70'
- 1st Half
Celtic - St. Johnstone
Scottish Premiership - 1 April 2012
Scottish Premiership – Follow the Football match between Celtic and St. Johnstone live with Eurosport. The match starts at 21:45 on 1 April 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Lee Croft is coming off and Kudus Oyenuga, on loan from Spurs, comes on for his SPL debut.
Mulgrew takes the free-kick but Mannus saves well low down to his left.
Three minutes additional time given.
Wright then fouls Commons 25 yards out and this has Charlie Mulgrew's name all over it.
Samaras collects the ball int he box but he's swept aside by Frazer Wright with ease.
Celtic are moving the ball around nicely at the moment, but without any obvious target.
Blackman is eager to get on the ball as he takes it down the left but sees his cross swallowed up by Mannus.
Andre Blackman is on for Gary Hooper.
Liam Craig with another great chance! Croft sets up Sandaza down the right. His cross is cut out by Forster but it falls kindly to Craig who fires over the bar from 15 yards out when it looked easier to score.
Jody Morris is coming off for St Johnstone and Kevin Moon comes on.
Craig's delivery from the corner isn't as good as his free-kick though and Celtic clear.
Liam Craig is standing over it and he has a go at goal which forces Forster into a great save, scrambling across his goalline to tip the ball out for a corner. Great effort from Craig.
St Johnstone have a free-kick in a dangerous position...
Great work by Samaras on the right but a saving tackle from McCracken puts the ball out for a corner which is subsequently cleared.
Celtic look content to pass the ball around and keep possession at the moment, St Johnstone look to be running out of steam.
Sandaza wins a free-kick from Mulgrew, despite the striker's reaction looking suspiciously delayed.
Samaras looks annoyed as he's impeded by McCracken. The referee sees nothing wrong and waves play on.
Hooper slips in Commons, but he's flagged offside when clearly on. The linesmen have been poor today.
Wright is down injured and the referee calls the trainers onto the pitch.
Lee Croft has a shot from 30 yards but it's easy for Forster to save.
Craig gets a booking among the celebrations for something he said to the linesman. It's not right, but he does have a point.
Heartbreak for St Johnstone, their response to Celtic's opening goal was great, but they were caught with a sucker punch. Replays show that the away side had a right to appeal for a foul after Craig was wiped out by Commons in the Celtic half.
2-0 CELTIC! It's an own goal by Chris Miller. Samaras races down the right with a St Johnstone player down injured. The away team appeal for a foul but the referee doesn't acknowledge anything and Celtic attack. Samaras whips in a cross and it's diverted into his own net by Miller.
Croft whips in a cross from the right and as Craig runs on to it at the back post he looks set to score, but Adam Matthews puts in a great sliding tackle to divert the ball out for a corner.
Sandaza appeals for a penalty of his own when he's barged to the turf by Loovens. Replays shows it was a foul in the area, but nothing given.
St Johnstone will feel hard done by, but they've had a few great chances in this second half to score themselves. The away side will have to come out of their shells a bit now and attack more.
1-0 CELTIC! Commons takes the free-kick earned by Samaras and aims it towards the ex-Man City forward. The striker gets up above everyone else and heads the ball beyond Mannus to open the scoring.
Samaras goes down in the area under pressure from McCracken. Celtic fans appeal for a penalty, Samaras doesn't make a big deal of it and wins a free-kick further down the pitch when chasing the ball.
Anthony Stokes is off, and doesn't look happy, with Ki on as his replacement.
Commons takes a quick short corner which he gets back from Matthews. The midfielder's cross-cum-shot is dipping right under the bar when Mannus tips it over for a corner. I wonder if Commons meant that to be a shot?
Matthews lays the ball off to Brown who curls an effort towards goal when it's deflected wide for a corner.
Jody Morris appears to catch Brown in the face with an elbow, but somehow the referee gives the foul St Johnstone's way. Odd.
Craig gets tackled on the left wing and the ball tumbles loose. Miller picks it up and fires a wayward shot towards goal.
Rogne is back on the pitch after a spot of treament.
Celtic get all muddled up in attack when Commons picks up a pass that doesn't look as though it was intended for him. St Johnstone regroup and crowd out Samaras who collects the ball on the right wing.
Rogne is off receiving treatment while St Johnstone take this corner. Craig takes it from the right, but Forster gathers the ball at the second attempt.
Rogne is down injured after putting the ball out for a corner. He looked to go over on his ankle there.
Mikael Lustig is coming off and Adam Matthews comes on.
Scott Brown isn't happy with George Salmond when the referee accidentally cuts out Charlie Mulgrew's pass.
Celtic still look a bit sluggish at the start of the second half and the fans are getting restless.
It's Stokes' turn to put in a cross as he runs down the left flank. It's a good ball and Mannus catches the ball as it's about to land on Hooper's head.
It's a great delivery from Craig and Sandaza leaps above Rogne and heads just over the bar and onto the roof of the net. A great effort from the Spaniard.
Lustig fouls Sandaza in the Celtic half and St Johnstone have a break in play and a chance to get their big defenders forward.
Liam Craig beats Lustig and puts in a wonderful cross but it's inches too far ahead of Sheridan and Forster saves.
Stokes is flagged offside, but he's a yard or so onside - another poor decision from the linesman.
Croft and Miller link-up on the right before Mackay crosses. It's a great ball and Sheridan gets across Rogne brilliantly but he can only put his header wide. He should have done better there, but it's a warning for Celtic.
The home side get the second half started.
Celtic really need to up the tempo in the second half and give Stokes and Hooper a bit of support from midfield.
HALF-TIME and it's nearly seven hours since St Johnstone conceded a goal away from home in the SPL. It's been even so far, though Celtic began to dominate towards the end of the half.
Neil Lennon is slumped in his seat on the dugout looking utterly fed up with his side's first half performance as the half-time whistle blows.
Commons whips in a freekick but Mannus spills it after Sheridan seems to foul Samaras. Mulgrew is there to collect the loose ball but his shot is cleared off the line by Frazer Wright.
St Johnstone clear but Lee Croft is booked for an elbow on Joe Ledley.
Brown punces on a loose ball on the 25 yards out and lays it off to Stokes who can't get a clean shot at goal but does win a corner.
Craig takes the set-piece but once again Forster collects comfortablty.
Sandaza sprays a ball out for Croft on the right wing. He slips a pass back across the box towards Sheridan but it misses the striker and finds Craig who smashes a shot off Lustig and out for a corner.
Commons trips over Jody Morris after he played himself into trouble. He wins a free-kick though and it gives the home side a chance to press again.
Neil Lennon is giving the fourth official a right old earful. Not entirely sure why though, seems to be fairly even so far.
Loovens brings the ball forward and plays it out wide to Lustig who fires in a tempting cross across the face of goal. Mannus and Wright leave the ball for each other and luckily for them there's no Celtic attacker to punish their hesitancy.
Samaras has gone quiet since his early start. A few poor touches and he;s just been penalised for a needless handball.
Celtic have enjoyed 55% of possession so far, but they've not made it count. As long as this stays 0-0, you feel the away side are going to grow more and more confident.
McCracken makes a mistake and lets Hooper in, who feeds a pass through to Samaras whose first touch is very heavy and the ball goes out of play.
Hooper's careless touch gives away possession but Celtic win a throw. They try to keep the pressure on, but the away side fill the penalty area with bodies and crowd out the attack.
It's all gone a bit long-ball at the minute, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but they've all missed their target so far.
Commons tries a very ambitious through ball towards Ledley, but Mannus is alert and sprints out to clear.
Mackay slips a pass through to Sandaza on the right but the pair aren't on the same wavelength and Foster collects the loose ball.
St Johnstone are passing the ball around their defence very comfortably, not much pressing from Stokes or Hooper.
Good build up by Celtic but Samaras' pass through to Stokes in the right channel is way too heavy and it goes out for a goal kick.
Both sides are struggling to make the ball stick in the final third. Stokes' first touch has been poor while Rogne and Loovens are closing down Sandaza and Sheridan very quickly indeed.
Samaras and Commons switch flanks with the Greek international on the right now to see if he can get any more joy there.
Brown fouls Croft and St Johnstone have a free-kick 35 yards out from the Celtic goal. Liam Craig goes for goal and he forces Forster to make an easy save.
Alan Maybury gets a booking for a foul in the build-up to that chance for Celtic.
Just wide from Commons! Stokes collects Commons' pass on the edge of the area. The striker runs along side the penalty are before slipping a perfect pass through to Commons who fires a shot across the face of goal. He should have done a lot better from that range.
St Johnstone get back in great numbers when they've not got the ball. Celtic are finding it tricky to break down their defence through the sheer number of bodies in their half of the pitch.
This time Stokes breaks the offside trap and lays the ball through to Hooper who tries to chip Mannus from the edge of the area. It's a weak effort though and it's easy for Mannus to collect.
Stokes thinks he's offside so leaves Lustig's through ball, the one-time Sunderland striker was a yard or so onside there and he would have been clear through on goal.
Celtic Park erupts in the 19th minute with applause for former Celtic player Stiliyan Petrov who was diagnosed with leukaemia on Friday.
St Johnstone have another corner and this one is better by Craig but Forster collects McCracken's header.
Commons picls up the ball on the edge of the area and gets an early shot off which goes well over the bar.
Samaras takes the ball into the box with a cute step-over but he's tackle by mackay who puts it out for a throw.
The same linesman who was over-ruled for the corner kick earlier has been corrected again by the referee - that's twice in 15 minutes, hardly a vote of confidence in the official.
Mikael Lustig looks confident and he's started well. The January signing from Rosenborg has been calm in possession and plays a simple game.
It's been fairly even-stevens so far and it looks like it's going to be a fairly open game.
Both sides struggling to hold on to the ball in midfield and the game turns a wee bit scrappy.
Sandaza links up with Croft before the on-loan midfielder whips in a cross. There's no one in the middle though and Celtic regain possession.
Liam Craig delivers from the right but it's a terrible corner and it's out for a throw-in on the left touchline.
Rogne is forced to head the ball out for a corner. The linesman flags for a goal kick but he's over-rule by the referee.
Scott Brown takes on three Saints midfielders but he can't find anyone ahead ot him to pass to so he's forced to go backwards. Good work by the Bhoys captain.
Sandaze is felled by Loovens on the left, but he's back on his feet before crossing deep to Chris Miller. The midfielder pulls it back for Morris to have a pot-shot at goal which goes wide.
Good work from Samaras as he beats Dave Mackay before lofting a cross to the back post where Stokes is there to head at goal. His effort is tame and it's easy for Mannus to catch.
A lovely passing move from Celtic launches a counter attack but Jody Morris gets back and tackles Commons in the penalty area.
Samaras is full of running early on, he's looking like he's in the mood today. That's the second 40 or 50 yard run he's made with the ball so far.
Scott Brown fouls Sandaza quite clearly, but the referee gives a drop-ball which St Johnstone win and subsequently waste.
Stokes takes the free-kick, but it dips just over the over.
St Johnstone give the ball away from kick off and Samaras races through the Saints' midfield and is brought down 25 yards out from goal. An early chance for Celtic.
You'll Never Walk Alone rings out before St Johnstone get ready to kick off.
The two managers today, Neil Lennon and Steve Lomas, were roommates when at Manchester City and played together at international level for Northern Ireland.
St Johnstone are looking for their fourth successive win and are the only visiting team in Scotland to win at Celtic Park this season. The Saints are in fact unbeaten in six games, not having lost since the 5-1 drubbing at home by Dundee United in February.
St Johnstone: Mannus; Mackay, McCracken, Wright, Maybury; Croft, Morris, Craig, Millar; Sandaza, Sheridan.
Those teams in full: CELTIC - Forster; Lustig, Rogne, Loovens, Mulgrew; Commons, Brown, Ledley, Samaras; Stokes & Hooper. SUBS: Zaluska, Matthews, Izaguirre, K Wilson, Ki, Blackman & McGeouch.
Steve Lomas on the other hand keeps with the same team that won at Inverness Caledonian Thistle last week, with new signing Derek Riordan taking a place on the bench
Neil Lennon is without the suspended pair Cha Du-Ri and Victor Wanyama after they both saw red against Rangers last weekend. James Forrest also misses out with a bruised ankle. Lennon makes four changes in total with Mikael Lustig, Glenn Loovens, Kris Commons and Gary Hooper all coming into the starting line-up.
After last week's Old Firm defeat at Rangers, Celtic were hoping today would be the day that the league title would be secured, however following Ranger's win at Motherwell yesterday, the Hoops will have to wait another week.
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