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St. Johnstone v Celtic
Celtic may only have tasted victory once in five appearances now, but it’s hardly time for Ange Postecoglou’s men to panic. Two were defeats inflicted by Real Madrid and Leipzig in Europe, while a point was picked up against Shakhtar Donetsk. Domestically, the shock defeat away at St. Mirren remains the only blemish on their record this season, winning the other eight as they bagged at least four goals on four separate occasions.
Only the three teams below St. Johnstone in the table have conceded ore goals this term, and given they shipped seven goals when the two sides last met back in April, you have to fear a potential humiliation is on the cards. The Saints certainly came up short when visiting Rangers in August, succumbing to a 4-0 defeat, as their backline appears fragile when tested by real quality.
Celtic have won 15 of 16 unbeaten clashes with St. Johnstone since 2018/19, registering 13 clean sheets in the process, as this has very much been a one-sided affair. The Hoops have also scored twice at a minimum in eight of 10 away matches domestically since the start of March, including big 5-0, 9-0, and 4-1 triumphs over Kilmarnock, Dundee Utd and Ross County respectively this term.
Celtic’s attacking options just went back up to full strength as well with Giorgos Giakoumakis returning to the bench midweek, leaving centre-backs Carl Starfelt and Cameron Carter-Vickers as Postecoglou’s main injury concerns, while Callum McGregor is suspended. That does however leave the visitors open to conceding a goal, with the partnership between Mortiz Jenz and Stephen Welsh failing to properly convince as of yet.
CELTIC –1 HANDICAP
Rangers v St. Mirren
St. Mirren have put quite the run together with five wins from their last six, including a surprise 2-0 triumph over Celtic. There have also been four clean sheets to boast of, as in addition to the Hoops, each of Ross County, Dundee Utd and Hibernian’s attacks were kept at bay.Hoops
Things haven’t been proceeding quite so swimmingly for the Gers, who are coming up short time and again when facing quality opposition. A 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield is hardly an embarrassing result, but it was a fourth loss in six outings after others to Celtic (4-0), Ajax (4-0) and Napoli (3-0).
Indeed, Rangers have now kept a solitary clean sheet in seven appearances, with the number of goals they’ve been shipping somewhat alarming. Admittedly, St. Mirren don’t possess the same kind of firepower as Rangers’ recent opponents, but the visitor’s good form of late would suggest they can give Rangers’ backline a thorough test.
Rangers can at least point to a sublime recent record against St. Mirren, winning 11 of 12 encounters since 2018/19 and registering 10 clean sheets. They can also point towards a W37-D4-L1 record in the league at Ibrox since 2020/21, as only Celtic were able to get the better of them. However, whereas the defence was a cornerstone of Rangers’ title triumph in 2020/21, they’re not looking quite so solid in that department these days.
Although the Gers are much better at home, where they’ve won all four league games this season by a combined 12-1 scoreline, it’s worth noting that those four sides occupy the bottom four slots in the table. St. Mirren are riding high in third, and should back themselves to get on the scoresheet, even if taking more than a consolation effort is a tall order.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
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