Celtic extended their lead at the top of the Premiership to four points with a 3-0 win over St Mirren.

Reo Hatate opened the scoring after 52 minutes with a wonderful strike, sending the ball high beyond Zach Hemming with a lovely outside-of-the-foot finish just inside the box. The scoring was then extended with a close-range header by Kyogo after a superb delivery on the right wing from Alistair Johnston. Adam Idah bundled another home in the dying embers.

Windy conditions played their part, with debris from the pre-match display courtesy of the Green Brigade floating around the pitch, with the home crowd hugely frustrated with what they saw from the team until Hatate’s goal.

Brendan Rodgers’ side got the job done, though, and at this stage of the season, with five games remaining, results are all that matter. Here are our five takeaways from today’s game…

Patience is a virtue

Well, as the saying goes, Celtic required exactly that. Patience. It was far from pretty during the first half, with loose balls aplenty and a general lack of energy throughout the side. But a goal in the early stages of the second half saw the confidence we’ve come to expect of Rodgers’ Celtic team flow. Naturally, the visitors retreated into their shell with the game essentially done at 2-0, but the champions passed the ball around with much more purpose and really should’ve scored more than, with the likes of Luis Palma and James Forrest coming close before Idah finally nodded another past Hemming. There were certainly no audible boos from the home crowd as the half-time whistle was sounded, but murmurs of discontent for sure. Come full-time, those who remained inside Celtic Park were nothing but joyous as they applauded the team’s efforts for a dominant performance after the break. Over to you Rangers…

Positivity heading into the split

As everyone knows, this weekend signaled the end of the regular season in the top flight, with the division splitting into the top and bottom six. Given the carry-on at Dens Park, Dundee’s match against Rangers still needs to be settled, but a draw between Motherwell and Hibernian means Dundee have secured their spot before playing that game. Rodgers was delighted that his team put St Mirren to the sword to lay down a marker heading into the post-split fixtures. Five games left, and it really needs to be five wins for the Hoops. It might not play out that way in reality, but it’s in their own hands and that will be the simplest way to make it three-in-a-row. When was anything ever simple in Scottish football though? Twists and turns are likely on the horizon, but with three games at Celtic Park after the split, Celtic seem to hold all the aces in the title race as things stand.

Maik Nawrocki takes his chance

The Polish defender was afforded a rare start by Rodgers in the absence of Liam Scales at the heart of the defence. He played on the left side of the centre-back positions, with Cameron Carter-Vickers slotting in on the right as he usually does. His lack of game time this season, particularly of late since the re-emergence of Carter-Vickers, was evident after only two minutes as he mistimed a headed clearance and flattened lone St Mirren forward Toyosi Olusanya. Aside from that mishap, the 23-year-old didn’t put a foot wrong and looked relatively calm and assured despite the visitors enjoying a flurry of attacks in the first half. Depending on how long Scales is out of action there could be an opportunity for Nawrocki to stake his claim for a regular spot in the starting XI – something he’s found hard to come by in his debut season at the champions. He lasted an hour before Stephen Welsh was sent on for some minutes. The academy product is another who needed them, with the manager taking the chance to send on four subs, including the returning Palma and Callum McGregor.

Alex Gogic the standout for the Buddies

We know this St Mirren team can play, that’s not a new talking point. However, anyone who slates the standard of Scottish football – albeit this is wholly justified at times – needs to take a look at the way Stephen Robinson’s men were knocking the ball around. The whole team exuded confidence when in possession, this was not a case of a team coming to spoil the game, sit with ten men behind the ball and hold onto a point. No, this was a team, playing without pressure having already secured their top-six status, having a go. Of course, they were difficult to beat until eventually conceding. They did have a resolute defence who got back into position quickly any time Celtic looked to get into advanced areas. But take Gogic as an example of a player who rose to the occasion of playing in such a big game, as if he belongs on the biggest stage Scotland has to offer. On numerous occasions, certainly, in the first half, the Cypriot midfielder-turned-centre-back broke up the park, bringing the ball out of defence with his large strides. He caused chaos any time he came forward with no Celtic player wanting to go near the former Hibs and Hamilton man. He was outstanding for the visitors and deserves the plaudits of anyone who watched.

Football needs to take head injuries seriously

Elvis Bwomono was involved in a head collision with Celtic’s Yang as their pair jumped for the ball at the back-post. The defender successfully cleared the ball, but he sustained a head knock in the process. Referee Steven McLean invited the physio teams of both sides onto the field to deal with the incident. After the resultant corner was cleared, around a minute later, it became apparent that Bwomono was struggling with the aftermath of the incident. Concussion protocols are a huge talking point in the game nowadays and while credit must go to the players, referee and medical team for noticing the right-back was struggling as the game raged on, when will football start taking the matter of head injuries with the caution they require? The seriousness of concussion is properly handled in rugby, for example. Those in charge of making the laws of the game need to introduce temporary substitutions so that any players who may be suffering can be thoroughly checked before going back out onto the pitch to continue the game. If they’re genuinely fine, then fair play, batter in. But if they’re displaying any signs of concussion, then a permanent sub should then be enforced and they shouldn’t be allowed to re-enter the pitch. Ryan Strain was brought on for Bwomono after treatment on the field, with rules then allowing for Celtic to make an extra substitute of their own – much to the confusion of fans in the main stand at Forrest was brought on.