CELTIC brushed St Mirren aside to gain revenge for their only domestic defeat of the season, as a scintillating attacking showing was too much for a game Saints side to handle.

Liel Abada got the ball rolling with a volleyed finish after some pinball in the St Mirren box, before a Kyogo brace and a late David Turnbull long-ranger put the seal on a convincing victory for the champions.

Here are five talking points as Celtic retained their nine-point lead at the top of the table.


Ange Postecoglou hinted that the defender might get some game-time this week after proving that he was up to speed in training, but he perhaps wasn’t planning to pitch him in from the start here.

An injury to Cameron Carter-Vickers forced the Celtic manager’s hand somewhat though, and Kobayashi came in for a full debut alongside Carl Starfelt at the heart of the home defence. The first impressions were favourable.

One of the key demands placed on Celtic’s centre-backs is that they are comfortable on the ball, and the Japanese certainly appeared cool and composed in possession, showing off a decent range of passing at times too.

The physicality of the St Mirren front pairing of Curtis Main and Jonah Ayunga was too much for the Celtic backline to handle when the Saints beat Celtic in Paisley back in September, but Kobayashi showed he could mix it here when required too, handling that side of the game well.

He might even have had a goal to show for his admirable efforts as he crashed the shot off the post that rebounded to Abada to hammer home the opener, but all in all, he can be very pleased with his first outing in the hoops.


Postecoglou explained the absence of Giakoumakis’s name from the teamsheet prior to the game by citing an injury the Greek forward had picked up on the heavy Hampden pitch at the weekend, but whether it is this week or next, it seems inevitable that he isn’t long for this parish in any case.

Giakoumakis can hardly argue about a lack of game-time this season though when Kyogo is in such a rich vein of goalscoring form, a fact hammered home here as he scored twice to take his tally for the campaign to 18.

He produced a delightful dinked finish for his first as he scampered in behind off the shoulder of Charles Dunne onto a brilliant Reo Hatate pass, improvising as Trevor Carson closed in on him to lift the ball up and over the stranded Saints keeper.

His second again came from a brilliantly timed run in behind, the striker jinking in front of Joe Shaughnessy to sidefoot home a delicious first-time cross from Jota at the near post. His fondness for playing on the edge of the line was underscored by the offside flag being raised, but VAR correctly amended the call and the goal was awarded.

The prospect of an injury to Kyogo is one that no Celtic fan wishes to contemplate, but previously that worry would have been soothed by the reassuring presence of Giakoumakis. Celtic will have to fill that void before the end of the window, or keep their fingers crossed that their star striker remains fit and well.

Though, Abada is making a good job of sharing the goalscoring burden, becoming the second Celtic player to reach 10 goals this term with his strike here.


After all of the justified hullabaloo this week about the state of the pitch at Hampden, it was somewhat ironic that it was their bumpy home surface that hindered Celtic’s passing game early on in this encounter.

No pitch is going to be perfect at this time of year of course, particularly with the volume of rain that has fallen over the past week or so, but while it was nowhere near as bad as the swampy surface of the national stadium the Celtic Park pitch was threadbare in places and hardly suited to the home side’s preferred passing style.

They got to grips with it in the end after it contributed to some scrappy passages of play early on.


For all of the positive contributions that the Celtic midfielders make to the team, the only real goal threat that has come from the middle of the park among the more regular starters this season has been from Reo Hatate, with Callum McGregor scoring twice and Matt O’Riley remarkably yet to find the net.

Turnbull came off the bench late on here, a role he has had to become reluctantly familiar with, but he posted a reminder of just what he is capable of as he rocketed a belter past former Motherwell teammate Carson from 30 yards to put the icing on the cake of Celtic’s victory.

The Scotland international has designs on a more regular place in the team, and he showed here that he does have something to contribute to the Celtic cause.


It isn’t often that teams emerge from a 4-0 defeat with much cause for solace or positives to take from their performance, but St Mirren were hardly embarrassed despite the way the Celtic attack eventually tore them asunder.

There was plenty to like about their approach, particularly early in the game where they had a Main goal correctly ruled out for a marginal offside call and Ayunga forced Joe Hart into a brilliant save with a long-range effort that was headed for the postage stamp.

Stephen Robinson will be disappointed with the manner of the opening goal, and Celtic’s quality ultimately told, but there is no reason for the Saints manager to be disheartened by what he saw here.