Comfortable win for Celtic

Goals from Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper either side of the
break gave Celtic a 2-0 SPL home win over St Mirren on
Saturday.

In the 15th minute of a one-sided first-half peppered by Hoops
penalty appeals, none of which were given, midfielder Wanyama
opened the scoring at the second attempt following a Charlie
Mulgrew corner.

Saints showed resilience if nothing else as they withstood a
constant Celtic procession towards their goal but seven minutes
from time, they succumbed again when former Scunthorpe forward
Hooper struck from close range, following another Mulgrew
corner.

The Buddies’ last victory at Celtic Park was in 1990 and since
taking over the St Mirren hotseat in 2010, Danny Lennon has failed
to manage a point or even a goal against the champions and earlier
in the season the Hoops strolled to a 5-0 victory in Paisley.

Thus, there was no surprise that Celtic emerged victors but it
should have been a more convincing scoreline.

Celtic started in determined mood and in the fifth minute,
following a Mulgrew corner, there was a penalty appeal amid
Wanyama’s header and Efe Ambrose’s subsequent shot but referee
Calum Murray ignored the pleas, perhaps blinded by the sheer number
of Saints defenders in the box.

The official took more stick from the Hoops fans when he ignored
a further penalty claim when it looked like an Adam Matthews cross
from the byline might have hit a Buddies arm and also when he
judged Saints skipper Jim Goodwin and defender Paul Dummett had not
sandwiched Hooper in the box.

However, moments later that was all forgotten when Wanyama
knocked the ball in from close range after his header from a
trademark Mulgrew corner had been spilled by Saints keeper Craig
Samson.

In the 26th minute, as the home side continued to monopolise
possession, striker Georgios Samaras sent a shot from the edge of
the box wide of the far post, before the Greek’s low drive from 25
yards moments later drew a decent save from Samson.

Celtic should have doubled their lead in the 51st minute when
Samaras’ cross from the by-line to the back post allowed Hooper to
set up Scott Brown, whose point-blank header was blocked by Samson,
with the Hoops skipper taking a bang in the face for his
troubles.

Despite Celtic’s reticence in front of goal, the visitors still
looked unlikely to level but the home support held its breath
during a rare away break in the 66th minute when midfielder John
McGinn’s left-footed drive had keeper Fraser Forster scrambling
down to his left to save.

The home side kept pressing for the second goal and in the 79th
minute, after Goodwin was booked for a foul on Hooper 30 yards from
goal, Mulgrew sent his curling free-kick over the wall but just
past the post.

However, Hooper made sure of the points when he was in the right
place to flick in after Mulgrew’s corner had landed at his feet a
couple of yards out after coming off Marc McAusland.

There was still time for Samson to make another save from Hooper
down at his right-hand post but by that time the destination of the
points were more than certain.