Celtic booed off by home support following 0-0 draw with St Johnstone

A section of the Celtic Park support made their feelings known after the goalless game.

Celtic booed off by home support following goalless draw with St Johnstone SNS Group

Celtic drew a blank against St Johnstone and needed two excellent second-half saves from Joe Hart to prevent the Perth side pulling off a shock win.

Dimitar Mitov celebrated his first call-up to the Bulgaria squad by making a hat-trick of saves from Matt O’Riley, who should probably have done better with at least two of the chances.

But Celtic otherwise struggled to test the Saints goalkeeper in a flat goalless display and only mustered five shots on target in total.

The visitors handed out three debuts after losing their previous four matches, but they looked compact before both Dara Costelloe and substitute Stevie May were denied by Hart.

The draw keeps Celtic a point ahead of Rangers in the cinch Premiership, but a second below-par performance in a row following their Viaplay Cup defeat at Kilmarnock did little for their confidence ahead of their of their trip to Ibrox next Sunday.

Celtic had a new-look central defence amid injuries to all other options. Gustaf Lagerbielke was handed his home debut while Liam Scales made his first Celtic appearance in 18 months after spending last season on loan at Aberdeen.

Alistair Johnston made his first appearance of the season after an ankle injury, while David Turnbull and Yang Hyun-jun came in.

St Johnstone manager Steven MacLean handed debuts to loan signings Luke Robinson, Jay Turner-Cooke and Costelloe.

MacLean had bluntly told his players their previous performance at Ross County was unacceptable and he dropped captain Liam Gordon and May to the bench, while there was no place for Ryan McGowan.

Johnston set up the first chance, which Kyogo Furuhashi swept just wide first time.

Turnbull’s deft corner was met on the volley by O’Riley, only for Mitov to push the ball over the crossbar and the Denmark Under-21 international had another effort stopped before setting up Yang to blaze over.

St Johnstone’s only half-chance in the first 45 minutes fell for Luke Jephcott, who sliced wide from Graham Carey’s free-kick.

O’Riley had his best chance early in the second half when Johnston’s cutback found him unmarked, but the midfielder again could not beat Mitov from close range.

It was clear Celtic needed a spark come the hour mark and Brendan Rodgers put on Anthony Ralston, Sead Haksabanovic and Liel Abada.

Haksabanovic, playing in a number 10 role, soon set up O’Riley, but the midfielder was stretching with his right foot and missed the target.

Gordon replaced the injured Considine in the Saints central defence before Mitov turned Haksabanovic’s 25-yard strike past the post.

Saints almost stunned the home fans with their first attack of the half. Costelloe flicked the ball over Scales on the byline and volleyed an effort which was heading for the top corner, only for Hart to flick out his hand and divert it behind for a corner.

Furuhashi hit a half-chance wide before Saints had another great chance when Carey sent May clear. Hart narrowed the angle and blocked the shot before Carey sent the rebound over.

Substitute James Forrest headed Ralston’s cross over, but there was no late onslaught and Mitov saved comfortably from Abada during eight minutes of stoppage-time before the final whistle was met by boos among the home fans.

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