Celtic return to top of Premiership with win over St Johnstone

The champions go a point clear at the top of the league with a win at Celtic Park.

Celtic return to top of Premiership with win over St Johnstone at Parkhead SNS Group

Celtic have returned to the top of the Premiership with a victory over St Johnstone in Glasgow.

The 3-1 win on Saturday means the champions move a point clear of city rivals Rangers who are not in action until Sunday afternoon.

Kyogo Furuhashi put the Hoops ahead in the first-half after a dominant 45 minutes from the home side before Nicolas Kuhn doubled their lead after the break.

Veteran winger James Forrest put the game beyond the Perth side when he made it 3-0 after coming off the bench in the second-half.

St Johnstone pulled one back with a late consolation from Connor Smith but it wasn’t enough to deny the home side all three points.

Brendan Rodgers’ side also had three goals ruled out for offside in what was a dominant performance in the east-end of Glasgow.

Attention in the title-race now turns to Dens Park when Philippe Clement’s side take on Dundee knowing they will need a win to go back top with eight games remaining in the title-race.

Celtic had the best of the opening stages as they piled pressure on the visitor’s defence.

Captain for the day Cameron Carter-Vickers headered just over the bar from a corner in the first real effort before Paulo Bernardo had a chance following a goal-mouth scramble but the defence managed to get it clear.

Daizen Maeda then had a shot blocked by the defender before the Hoops had a claim for a penalty but after a quick VAR check the officials decided there been no hand-ball.

Nicolas Kuhn then sent a chipped effort just over the bar and Kyogi had the ball in the net on the half-hour mark but the strike was ruled out for offside as St Johnstone continued to hold on by the skin of their teeth.

Kyogo had another great chance not long after when he looked as if he should have squared it to Maeda inside the box, but he opted to go alone and his strike was turned behind for a corner.

Tomoki Iwata was next up when he fired in a strike that was well saved by St Johnstone keeper Mitov.

At this point a goal seemed inevitable and it was Kyogo who grabbed the opener with a close range header to make it 1-0 just before half-time.

The Japan forward had the ball in the net for a third time in the first 45 minutes but it was again ruled out for offside after Maeda strayed offside in the build up.

The Hoops started the second-half as they finished the first and this time Kyogo turned provider as he sent the ball into the box for Kuhn who put it past Mitov to make it 2-0.

The game was all but finished when Forrest made it 3-0 with a left-foot finish after being set up by Matt O’Riley with just over 20 minutes remaining.

It was the 32-year-old’s third goal of the season and 104th strike of his trophy-laden Celtic career.

Connor Smith got one back for Craig Levein’s side with just under 10 minutes of the 90 remaining when he fired past Joe Hart to make it 3-1.

Alistair Johnston had the ball in the net just moments later but the strike was ruled out for offside against the Canadian.

Rodgers’ side are now a single point clear at the top as the race for the Premiership crown heats up with eight games remaining for Celtic, and nine for Rangers, including two more Old Firm games.

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