CELTIC went two Premiership matches without a victory for only the second time under Ange Postecoglou as St Mirren kept their European ambitions alive.

Stephen Robinson’s side led for long spells via a Curtis Main double either side of Kyogo Furuhashi’s equaliser, before Callum McGregor struck a late equaliser for the champions. A first home outing since being crowned Premiership winners two weeks prior, Postecoglou named a strong line-up in an attempt to wipe away last weekend’s derby defeat to Rangers.

But they found a highly-effective Saints outfit in their way, one which will be disappointed not to be returning to Paisley with maximum points. Not since losing to Livingston and drawing with Dundee United in the early days of Postecoglou’s reign have Celtic not in consecutive league matches, and although it matters not in the context of this season, they will feel some sharpening up is in order as the Scottish Cup final approaches.

Here are five talking points from Celtic Park.

Iwata to centre-back

An interesting switch from Postecoglou, moving the 25-year-old back to partner Carl Starfelt at centre-back. Iwata has looked impressive in a handful of midfield outings, but he has a considerable challenge on his hands in displacing McGregor at the base with any regularity.

Most of Iwata’s J-League appearances came at centre-back, however, and with the pressure largely off, he was dropped into the heart of defence. He made a jittery start.

He and Anthony Ralston failed to co-ordinate their response to a routine Trevor Carson punt downfield, and that allowed Main to nip in behind, shimmy past Ralston again before scoring with an effort Joe Hart really ought to have kept out.

Iwata will likely prove a useful option in that position, given how comfortable he is in possession and how much of it Celtic enjoy. Main is as robust as they come, posing Iwata as a big a physical test as he’ll come across in the Premiership.

Main man

A style as expansive as Celtic’s is, at times, bound to leave the door open at the other end. So often, though, teams who come here don’t make their big chance count when it comes along. Pre-match, Robinson urged his St Mirren players to be courageous – and they responded.

Two chances presented themselves to Main in the first-half and he gobbled up both of them. Ralston and Iwata got themselves in a tangle for the first, but the striker still had plenty to do, reaping his rewards with Hart’s error.

He really should’ve had a hat-trick when he met a cross unchallenged in the six-yard box, but failed to make solid contact with the header. A repeat scenario just shy of the hour mark yielded the same outcome, and Main then smashed against the post after beating Iwata on the left. The 30-year-old is the very definition of a nuisance, though, with Iwata and Carl Starfelt not particularly enjoying his company.

Sleepy Celtic

The job’s been done for Celtic in retaining the league title, but they haven’t been their usual embodiment of Postecoglou’s ‘we never stop’ mantra. The manager himself certainly hasn’t eased up, as far as team selections go.

Had they not been well beaten at Ibrox last weekend, we may have seen a very different Celtic selection, but this was about as close to full strength as their manager could go, given available options.

Familiar line-up, unfamiliar lethargy. Having grafted to get back level with Kyogo’s brilliantly-taken goal – an unstoppable strike high beyond Carson after being played in by Reo Hatate - St Mirren’s second was a poor as they’ve conceded all year. Failure to clear the box from a long throw proved costly as Main drifted to the back post and headed into the opposite corner.

McGregor to the rescue

It had begun to feel like it wouldn’t quite happen for Celtic as they plugged away at the stubborn mass of black jerseys who were standing firm even as the minutes wore on and the legs grew heavier. The deeper role occupied by Celtic’s captain these days doesn’t quite put in among the goals as he used to be, but something that has never changed is his willingness take responsibility.

You could almost pinpoint the exact moment the 29-year-old decided he was going to make something happen; scuttling a pass forward and going after it, taking the return and placing a sumptuous effort into Carson’s far corner. He couldn’t quite push his team on to find a winner, but amid some wasteful finishing from the likes of Daizen Maeda, Celtic have their captain to thank for ensuring they did not succumb to back-to-back domestic defeats.

A drop-off in what have been relentlessly high standards was always a possibility once the league was wrapped up, but Celtic have built their success on giving every match the same full throttle approach, and will be disappointed with their performance on the day.

Saints still in the hunt

This was a performance to underline why Robinson has been among the managerial success stories of this season. On a modest budget, he has led St Mirren to a top six Premiership finish for the first time since 1985.

And as the campaign reaches its conclusion, they could yet end it by qualifying for the Europa Conference League. It would be a monumental achievement for the Paisley club. It doesn’t feel that long ago that they were seriously threatened by relegation to League One.

This result moves them to within two points of Hibs, who play Rangers on Sunday. They will host Rangers themselves on the final day after visiting Aberdeen, and although their destiny isn’t quite in their hands, on this evidence they will be in it right to the very end.

They were brilliantly organised, committed in defence and incisive in attack when the time came; it wasn’t 90-minute backs to the wall job, and Saints will feel they were well worthy of leaving here with something.