Aug 13, 2014 at 7.45pm UK at ​McDiarmid Park
St Johnstone
0-3
Celtic

Mackay (57'), Wotherspoon (69')
Mackay (75')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Stokes (55'), Biton (76' pen.), McGregor (85')
Johansen (51')

Result: Celtic down 10-man St Johnstone with two second-half goals

Celtic begin the defence of the Scottish Premiership crown with a 3-0 win away at St Johnstone.

Celtic began their Scottish Premiership title defence with a 3-0 victory away at St Johnstone tonight.

The champions were forced to toil throughout a goalless first half, and Craig Gordon - who was making his first competitive start in more than two years - had to push away Steven MacLean's shot in the 20th minute.

The Bhoys did manage to forge a few chances for themselves in the opening 45 minutes, however. First, Anthony Stokes curled a 25-yard free kick just wide before Callum McGregor tested Alan Mannus with a low shot.

Kris Commons saw much of the ball for Celtic, but he was unable to put his side ahead as he pulled a shot wide of the near post shortly before the half-time whistle sounded.

Ronny Deila's men survived a scare five minutes after half time when Michael O'Halloran's shot crept narrowly wide of the post after a deflection off the back of MacLean.

Commons was the architect of many Celtic goals last season and it proved to be the case again this evening with the opener. The midfielder dispossessed Steven Anderson and fed Stokes, who rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball home.

St Johnstone's hopes of a comeback were dashed when Dave Mackay was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Derk Boerrigter in the box before Nir Biton coolly dispatched the penalty.

McGregor waltzed through the home defence before blazing over in the 84th minute, but just 60 seconds later he sent another shot towards goal, which crept under Mannus and ensured Deila's first league game in charge of Celtic ended in victory.

Callum McGregor of Celtic controls the ball during a pre season friendly match between Brentford and Celtic at Griffin Park on July 20, 2013
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Half-Time Report: St Johnstone, Celtic goalless at break
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2Aberdeen19123432211139
3RangersRangers19113538231536
4Hibernian198652825330
5Hearts197662119227
6St Johnstone187382027-724
7Motherwell187292426-223
8Kilmarnock195772226-422
9Hamilton AcademicalHamilton195592732-520
10Dundee1953112029-918
11Ross County1944111931-1216
12Partick Thistle1835101634-1814
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