St Johnstone 2 - 3 Celtic

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St Johnstone 2 - 3 Celtic

Post  nirvana on Thu Oct 28, 2010 2:25 am

Highlights - St Johnstone 2-3 Celtic

By Thomas McGuigan

Celtic fired three goals inside 13 minutes before surviving a St Johnstone comeback to win a pulsating Co-operative Insurance Cup tie.
Anthony Stokes drilled Celtic into the lead before Niall McGinn forced the ball home after Graeme Smith had parried Ki Sung-Yeung's free-kick.
Stokes added his second but Sam Parkin reduced the deficit when he pounced on Glenn Loovens's mistake.
Murray Davidson's header gave Saints hope but the visitors held on.
St Johnstone, fresh from their 2-1 league win over Hamilton Accies, welcomed a Celtic side looking to purge the memory of last weekend's Old Firm derby defeat.
Neil Lennon's men started purposefully and the movement of Stokes and McGinn caused the Saints defence some early problems.
Liam Craig cleared McGinn's low cross after the Northern Ireland international had been fed by Gary Hooper.
But Stokes gave Celtic an early lead when Ki's cross was not cleared and the striker drilled a superb shot low past Smith.

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We didn't start - McInnes

The visitors doubled their lead soon after when Smith could only parry Ki's free-kick from about 15 yards and McGinn pounced to lash the ball home from close range.
And Stokes scored his second and Celtic's third when McGinn raced down the right and his cross was directed home via Smith's right-hand post.
Hooper then threaded a great ball through to Joe Ledley, but the former Cardiff City midfielder was flagged offside as he bore down on goal when he appeared to be played on by the Saints defence.
The home side seized on that let-off moments later when Smith's long punt downfield was headed on by Grainger and Parkin outfoxed Loovens to arrow the ball home.

Murray Davidson's header gave Saints renewed hope at McDiarmid Park
Five minutes before the break Craig found himself in space on the edge of the area but he lashed the ball high and wide of Forster's goal under pressure from Daniel Majstorovic.
Saints spurned a great chance to reduce the deficit further on the stroke of half-time when Parkin found himself in acres of space in the box, but the striker's shot was blocked by Forster.
The hosts came racing out of the traps after the break and appeared to grow in confidence against a shaky Celtic defence.

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Lennon critical of individual mistakes

And they scored their second of the night when Grainger's header was powerfully headed home by Davidson as the midfielder stole in ahead of Majstorovic.
Hooper then scooped a great chance wide when he found himself through on goal against Smith.
Saints looked increasingly dangerous, particularly at set-pieces, and Parkin was denied by Forster's superb reaction save with the Celtic defence all at sea.
Hooper missed a glorious chance to extend Celtic's lead when he lost his footing as he tried to round keeper Smith inside the box and Stokes's attempted back-heel was cleared for a corner.
Saints pressed furiously in the search for an equaliser and Myrie-Williams looked to have scored in injury-time but Forster stabbed it clear as Celtic held on to book their place in the last four.

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