Magnificent seven for Celtic as they go nine points clear at top

Celtic treated the home crowd to a relentless display against the Premiership strugglers.

Celtic go nine points clear of Rangers in Premiership with 7-0 win over St Johnstone SNS Group

Celtic have moved nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with only five games to go after a thumping win over St Johnstone in Glasgow.

The league leaders cruised to a 7-0 victory with a relentless display of attacking football that puts further pressure on second placed Rangers ahead of their game against St Mirren on Sunday.

Ange Postecoglou named the same starting line-up that beat their city-rivals 2-1 at Ibrox last weekend but excitement levels inside Celtic Park were raised when it was revealed that Kyogo Furuhashi, who had been missing since picking up an injury on Boxing Day, had returned to the squad.

The Japan international forward was named on a strong Celtic bench alongside the likes of David Turnbull, Matt O’Riley and Liel Abada.

It was Kyogo’s countryman Reo Hatate who opened the scoring for the home-side on the seventh minute as he fired home his fourth goal since signing in January.

Tom Rogic came close to doubling the lead just a few minutes later after a jinking run inside the St Johnstone box, but Zander Clark was able to keep the low shot out of the net.

Premiership player of the month for March Giorgios Giakoumakis made it two on the 20 minute mark when he intercepted a poor back pass before taking the ball round Clark and slotting home from close range.

But the big striker, who now has 13 goals in 14 starts since signing from VVV Venlo in the summer, was down injured soon after and was replaced by Abada.

The one way traffic in the first half continued as the Perth side struggled to deal with Celtic’s relentless attacks and Daizen Maeda made it three ten minutes before the break.

The Japan star, who was moved through the middle when Giakoumakis was taken off, headed home a pin-point cross from Jota and put the game beyond the Premiership strugglers ten minutes before half-time.

The second-half was only five minutes old when three became four as Josip Juranovic converted a penalty and it was five soon after when Matt O’Riley finished off another free-flowing move with a diving header.

And the O’Riley, who made his debut for Denmark under-21s two weeks ago, made it six with his second goal with just under 20 minutes to go when he smashed a shot into the top corner of Clark’s net.

And the floodgates were well and truly open when Abada put Celtic 7-0 up with the help of an assist from Maeda.

Furuhashi nearly made it 8-0 soon after being brought on to a rapturous applause but the popular forward flashed his shot wide of the post.

As well as moving nine points ahead, albeit with a game more played, the Hoops also now have a 24 goal lead ahead of Rangers in the goal difference category.

Celtic now play the Ibrox club in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden next weekend as they look to continue their hunt for a fifth domestic treble in the last six years.

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