MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 03:41:00| >> :120:34901:34901:
May 12, 2021 at 6.30pm UK at Celtic Park
CelticCeltic
4-0
St JohnstoneSt Johnstone
Turnbull (23'), Edouard (24'), Ajer (79'), Kader Dembele (85')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Celtic vs. St Johnstone - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Scottish Premiership clash between Celtic and St Johnstone, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Celtic will be looking to bounce back from another Old Firm derby defeat when they host high-flying St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Wednesday night.

The Hoops have failed to win any of their last three games, while the Saints have lost only one of their previous 11 matches in all competitions.


Match preview

Celtic's Callum McGregor with teammates before the match in March 2021© Reuters

Celtic extended their unwanted winless record against rivals Rangers to six matches in all competitions when they were comprehensively beaten 4-1 away at Ibrox last weekend.

A lively seven-minute spell in the first half saw three goals scored and a red card for Hoops midfielder Callum McGregor, who was dismissed for a late tackle in the build-up to Kemar Roofe's opener. Odsonne Edouard equalised just four minutes later, before Alfredo Morelos fired a shot past Scott Bain to put the champions in control heading into half time.

Steven Gerrard's men took advantage of the extra man after the break with another goal from Roofe and a late fourth from substitute Jermain Defoe, sealing all three points for the hosts, who remain unbeaten in this season's top flight.

That result means the Hoops are a colossal 23 points behind their rivals at the summit, and they have now gone an entire Scottish Premiership campaign without an Old Firm derby victory for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

Interim boss John Kennedy has assured Celtic fans that the club are planning to return to the top of Scottish football in the "shortest possible timeframe" and that they are also working hard to appoint a new manager, giving whoever takes the reins plenty of time to prepare for next season and launch a fightback.

The Hoops head into Wednesday's fixture with St Johnstone unbeaten in 15 top-flight meetings against them, winning 12 of those games and scoring 44 goals in the process.

Celtic are now guaranteed to end this term with less than 80 points for only the second time in the last 20 years and, if they fail to win on Wednesday night, they will also finish the campaign with their lowest points total since the 1999-2000 season.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson celebrates after the match on May 9, 2021© Reuters

St Johnstone remain on course to win a domestic double after they beat St Mirren 2-1 in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup last weekend.

The game at Hampden Park was goalless until the 72nd minute when the Saints scored two goals in three minutes through Glenn Middleton and Chris Kane.

St Mirren's Conor McCarthy pulled one back four minutes from time to make it a nervy finish for Callum Davidson's men, but they were able to hold on for the win, booking their place in the final against Hibernian in under two weeks' time.

St Johnstone are sure to have one eye on that showpiece event, but they must now turn their focus back to the Scottish Premiership, where they have a chance to finish as high as fifth for the first time since the 2016-17 season.

The Saints are currently in fifth spot, level on points with sixth-placed Livingston and seventh placed-Motherwell, although as the league has now split into two, only the Lions can catch Davidson's men as they head into the final two games of the campaign.

St Johnstone are winless in nine league visits to Celtic Park, last claiming three points in March 2015 with a 1-0 victory, but securing a win on Wednesday night would see them surpass the 45 points that they accumulated last season, with one game to spare.

Celtic Scottish Premiership form:
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L

Celtic form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L

St Johnstone Scottish Premiership form:
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • W

St Johnstone form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W


Team News

Celtic manager John Kennedy pictured in April 2021© Reuters

Celtic midfielder McGregor is suspended, which is likely to see Ismaila Soro brought into the side to start alongside Scott Brown.

Centre-back Shane Duffy has played his final game for the club as the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee is ruled out for the rest of the season with an injury.

Defender Christopher Jullien, who has been out since December with a knee problem, is Kennedy's only other injury concern heading into this weekend's game.

Greg Taylor has started the last two games at left-back and he could keep his place in the side ahead of Diego Laxalt, while Ryan Christie will be hoping he can return to the first XI ahead of either James Forrest or David Turnbull.

As for St Johnstone, four unnamed players were absent from the win against St Mirren due to coronavirus. Murray Davidson, Stevie May, Scott Tanser and Elliot Parish were not in the squad last weekend and so they could be the four players who are currently self-isolating.

Callum Davidson was still able to name a strong side last weekend and he is unlikely to make too many changes for the trip to Celtic.

Guy Melamed joined Kane in attack on Sunday, but Middleton – who starred at Hampden Park and who has scored in successive games – could return to the first XI at his expense.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Bain; Kenny, Welsh, Ajer, Taylor; Soro, Brown; Forrest, Turnbull, Elyounoussi; Edouard

St Johnstone possible starting lineup:
Clark; Kerr, Gordon, McCart; Rooney, McCann, Bryson, Booth; Conway, Wotherspoon; Kane


SM words green background

We say: Celtic 2-1 St Johnstone

Prior to St Johnstone's 1-1 draw at Celtic Park earlier this campaign, the Saints had lost each of their previous three visits by an aggregate score of 14-0.

Davidson's side are much stronger this season, while the Hoops have let their standards slip, so Wednesday night's fixture is set to be another close encounter.

Celtic are likely to be pushed all the way by an inform St Johnstone side, but they should have enough to secure a narrow victory on home soil, ending a run of three games without a win.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


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How you voted: Celtic vs St Johnstone

Celtic
80.6%
Draw
11.1%
St Johnstone
8.3%
36
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Celtic manager John Kennedy pictured on March 21, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Aberdeen00000000
2Celtic00000000
3Dundee00000000
4Dundee UnitedDundee Utd00000000
5Hearts00000000
6Hibernian00000000
7Livingston00000000
8Motherwell00000000
9RangersRangers00000000
10Ross County00000000
11St Johnstone00000000
12St Mirren00000000

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