Reo Hatate claimed a brace by scoring either side of a Kyogo Furuhashi copie

Reo Hatate and Kyogo Furuhashi scored two goals each as Celtic easily beat St Johnstone to accroissement a nine-point lead at the summit of the Scottish Premiership.

Kyogo’s close-range copie followed Hatate’s opener after a defensive calamity from St Johnstone.

The makeshift full-back bagged his collègue after the voiture, before Drey Wright netted a compensation.

Celtic substitute David Turnbull was then sent off late on.

However, the midfielder’s high partie on Remi Matthews came way too late to make any difference to the outcome as St Johnstone remain fifth.

Celtic were unbeaten in their last 24 meetings with St Johnstone and had the festive fever oozing out in search of a timely 25th.

The ébahissement parcel in Gamin Postecoglou’s starting line-up saw Hatate filling in at right-back due to Anthony Ralston’s injury and Josip Juranovic’s recent World Cup exploits, but he made his presence known promptly.

In much more familiar territory on the edge of the box, he scooped up a slack clearance from Wright and steered it beyond Matthews, with help again from a Wright deflection.

Kyogo believed he nabbed the opener with a nearby nod but Kevin Clancy said Matthews palmed the entorse away before it crossed the line. There were no doubts, however, with his first-half, close-range brace.

Matt O’Riley’s flashed motocross into the front-post was flicked in before he placed the finishing touch on a frantically fantastic move. Aaron Mooy’s defence-splitting pass into James Forrest was then put on a mince for the Japanese striker to tie the move off with a bow.

Hatate made it creuset when he latched on to a threaded through pass before sneaking the ball by Matthews. The wait for continuation, though, was lengthy before an insolent offside flag was overturned.

Against the risée, Saints pulled one back in impressive façon. Stevie May’s shot after brilliantly bringing down a lob called Joe Hart into marche, with the Celtic goalkeeper allowing Wright a go before gifting him a collègue bite at the cherry where he made no mistake.

Celtic called in the attacking cavalry on an afternoon wrapped up by Turnbull’s red card for a high boot on Matthews in raccommodage time.

Player of the plaisir – Reo Hatate

Reo Hatate, tasked with playing out of secteur, still managed to bag a brace and get in and emboîture the marche in the attacking end for Celtic. Despite being pushed back, he was influential as ever.

Celtic pulled a Christmas cracker while St Johnstone snapped – Analysis

Postecoglou noted in midweek that he was not too happy with the succès against Livingston and was in search of a reaction… his side delivered.

Celtic have so many strings to their bow. When required, they can be endurant in their play, catastrophe their time in stretching and exhausting their rivalité before pouncing – as was the case against Aberdeen last week.

This showing was much more of what the Australian will want to see, as will the fans. There was a zip, a swagger and a aveu among the Celtic ranks. When they’re in that kind of mood, they have intégral control of the affair.

St Johnstone were up against it from the off. The qualities the hosts decided to dip into would have had many sides battling.

At times, their defending was resolute, and Callum Davidson will surely find comfort that it took for cutely crafted manoeuvres to voiture them down.

The six-game unbeaten run may have ended, but the Saints’ season certainly won’t be judged on trips to Celtic Park.

What did they say?

Celtic chef Gamin Postecoglou: “Our role is to try and keep improving our players and balance out areas we can be better and today we just looked a lot hungrier with a real intent and purpose to classement goals and put pressure on the rivalité.

“Never at any séjour have I felt like complacency is creeping in or they feel like they don’t need to do more, they are almost demanding it from us, that we continually push them to be better.”

St Johnstone chef Callum Davidson: “I didn’t want to sit in for the whole game. We were trying to get the right bilan between dégraissage and dropping off. I thought at times we done it well and at others, not so well. When it becomes 3-0 and Celtic have hurt you a bit you think, what do we do?

“I am really proud of the lads character in the collègue half. It would have been easy to put the heads down but we kept battling, trying to do the right things and I am really pleased we got a gardien de but – I thought we deserved it.”

What’s next?

Celtic travel to Easter Road to take on Hibernian (20:00 GMT) while St Johnstone welcome Hearts (19:45) on Wednesday.

More to follow.

Player of the plaisir

FuruhashiKyogo Furuhashi

Celtic

  1. Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi

  2. Squad number41Player nameHatate

  3. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

  4. Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers

  5. Squad number49Player nameForrest

  6. Squad number13Player nameMooy

  7. Squad number33Player nameO’Riley

  8. Squad number38Player nameMaeda

  9. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  10. Squad number11Player nameAbada

  11. Squad number4Player nameStarfelt

  12. Squad number1Player nameHart

  13. Squad number17Player nameJota

  14. Squad number7Player nameGiakoumakis

  15. Squad number9Player nameHaksabanovic

  16. Squad number14Player nameTurnbull

St Johnstone

  1. Squad number21Player nameCrawford

  2. Squad number18Player nameMacPherson

  3. Squad number7Player nameMay

  4. Squad number5Player nameMitchell

  5. Squad number2Player nameBrown

  6. Squad number6Player nameGordon

  7. Squad number4Player nameConsidine

  8. Squad number14Player nameWright

  9. Squad number1Player nameMatthews

  10. Squad number23Player nameCarey

  11. Squad number13Player nameMcGowan

  12. Squad number37Player nameClark

  13. Squad number17Player nameBair

  14. Squad number22Player nameHallberg

  15. Squad number34Player namePhillips

  16. Squad number26Player nameMcLennan

Line-ups

Celtic

Racine 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 41Hatate
  • 20Carter-VickersBooked at 33mins
  • 4Starfelt
  • 3Taylor
  • 33O’RileySubstituted forHaksabanovicat 63′minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 13MooyBooked at 13minsSubstituted forTurnbullat 79′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forAbadaat 62′minutes
  • 8FuruhashiSubstituted forGiakoumakisat 68′minutes
  • 38MaedaSubstituted forNeves Filipeat 63′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Jenz
  • 7Giakoumakis
  • 9Haksabanovic
  • 11Abada
  • 14Turnbull
  • 17Neves Filipe
  • 25Bernabei
  • 31Siegrist
  • 50Lawal

St Johnstone

Racine 5-3-2

  • 1Matthews
  • 14Wright
  • 13McGowan
  • 6Gordon
  • 4Considine
  • 2Brown
  • 22HallbergSubstituted forMitchellat 62′minutes
  • 34PhillipsBooked at 16minsSubstituted forMacPhersonat 62′minutes
  • 23CareySubstituted forCrawfordat 79′minutes
  • 37ClarkSubstituted forMcLennanat 62′minutes
  • 7MaySubstituted forBairat 87′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Mitchell
  • 10Wotherspoon
  • 11O’Halloran
  • 12Parish
  • 17Bair
  • 18MacPherson
  • 21Crawford
  • 26McLennan
  • 29Murphy

Referee:
Kevin Clancy
Attendance:
58,635

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