Celtic navigated a tricky Scottish Cup tie against a game St Mirren as goals from Kyogo Furuhashi and Daizen Maeda secured safe passage into the quarter finals for Brendan Rodgers and his men.

The Celtic manager has now won 14 ties on the bounce in this competition, and while his men were made to work for their victory in Paisley in a keenly fought contest, they deserved to progress over the piece.

Here are the talking points from the SMiSA…


Having linked up well in the brief time they have appeared together on the pitch for Celtic in the last two matches, Brendan Rodgers decided to put both Idah and Kyogo into his starting XI for this one, with the Japanese playing between the Celtic midfield and the St Mirren last line.

It was a ploy that reaped early dividends as Celtic hit the front, rather against the run of play, it has to be said.

St Mirren were on the attack when the ball fell to Celtic captain Callum McGregor, who had his head up in an instant to spring Luis Palma away down the left-hand side. Palma pulled the ball back with a first-time pass to the edge of the area, where Kyogo was arriving to side foot home from the edge of the area.

It was a well worked goal from a Celtic point of view, but on first viewing, it looked as though Saints keeper Zach Hemming could have done better. In fairness to him, the ball rather went through the attempted block of Charles Dunne, leaving Hemming rather unsighted, but it was still a poor goal to concede from the hosts’ point of view.

It was just the fifth goal that Kyogo has scored in 21 games since netting against Atletico Madrid in late October.

As for Idah, he had an entertaining physical tussle with Dunne, but he didn’t quite have his shooting boots on, passing up a couple of opportunities before being replaced by Paulo Bernardo as Rodgers switched to a more conventional set up on the hour.

It will be interesting to see which way he goes when at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday, but his team showed here they now have that extra string to their bow as a viable option.


The Celtic winger is Scottish football’s equivalent of the box of chocolates from the famous Forrest Gump analogy, you just never know what you are going to get.

He rivals Gump for his running prowess too, and when he channels his athleticism in the right manner, he is a hugely effective contributor for Celtic both in term of their press and in attacking transitions.

But he is just as likely to slice a cross or overhit his final ball as he is to provide a moment of composure, and we saw the full repertoire here.

In fairness to Maeda, he did show a cool head and quick reactions to bag Celtic’s second.

Palma again got away down the left and stood up a ball to the back post where Matt O’Riley was arriving to side foot off the face of the bar. The ball shot quickly at Maeda eight yards from goal, who adjusted well to poke the ball home.


Gogic had been a player that seemed to flit around Scottish football doing a job without really pulling up any trees since his early days at Hamilton Accies, and a move to Hibs didn’t really work out for him before he washed up in Paisley.

Saints manager Stephen Robinson has taken him out of the midfield dog of war role that was his previous station and put him at the heart of his back three, and he has flourished into a hugely accomplished performer and key member of his side.

He has never been renowned as too much of a danger to the opposition goal mind you, despite his recent headed goal at Easter Road that must have tasted sweet for the Cypriot international, but he did everything bar score here in the first half.

First, he picked up the scraps from a corner before swivelling and cracking the ball off the face of the bar, before a brilliantly improvised overhead kick effort from the edge of area was superbly saved down low to his right by Joe Hart.

He was impressive for Saints throughout though, and is firmly a key member of Robinson’s side.


The aforementioned Hart save from Gogic was hugely impressive, and is just the latest in a series of fine stops that the veteran keeper has made in recent games for Celtic.

Much has been made of his apparent decline this season, but he pulled out a massive save at Pittodrie to ensure Celtic got a point, made another at a critical point of the midweek win over Hibs, and was accomplished in his work here too.

As well as the save from Gogic, he dealt admirably with a first half bombardment as St Mirren rained corners in on top of him, staying strong and punching well clear whenever the ball came his way.

Whether his future lies at Celtic or not beyond the summer when his contract expires remains to be seen, but reports of his demise appear to have been exaggerated.


It is often said that if players were given the opportunity of playing on a poor grass pitch or a plastic pitch, they would choose the poor grass one every time. But the pitch at the SMiSA must be close to the borderline.

That may be expected at this time of year, but it appeared particularly dry and bobbly, and players from both sides deserve credit for trying to play some football on it.

Saints are often pegged as being all about direct play and fighting for second balls, but playing on a pitch like this sometimes leaves little option. Both they and Celtic tried to get it down here, and Celtic’s better technical players handled the conditions just a shade better than their opponents.