Hatate scores double from right-back as Celtic beat St Johnstone

Hatate and Kyogo both scored a double as Celtic regain nine-point advantage.

Reo Hatate double from right-back as Celtic beat St Johnstone on Christmas Eve SNS Group

Reo Hatate scored a double from right-back as Celtic served up a festive treat against St Johnstone in their Christmas Eve Premiership clash in Glasgow.

Kyogo Furuhashi also scored two as the Hoops beat the Perth side 4-1 in the east end of Glasgow.

The champions regain their nine-point advantage at the top the league with the convincing victory that moves them on to 51 points after only 18 games.

It was Hatate’s performance that caught the attention as he deputised at right-back in place of Anthony Ralston with Josip Juranovic and Alistair Johnstone still unavailable.

And the 25-year-old, who usually plays midfield, opened the scoring after 14 minutes when his deflected strike flew past St Johnstone keeper Matthews.

Countryman Kyogo doubled the lead just four minutes later with a cheeky back heel flicked finish from close range.

And the Japan forward put the game beyond St Johnstone in the first half when he made it 3-0 with his second of the match and 14th of the season.

The third goal came after an inch-perfect pass from Mooy out to Forrest who timed his run perfectly before putting it on a plate for Kyogo to put it into the net.

Hatate then made it 4-0 early in the second half after a lengthy VAR check found the goal should stand.

The technology was then called upon again when Drey Wright got one back for St Johnstone with just over 20 minutes to go to make it 4-1.

And Hatate was involved again when he nearly completed a hat-trick but his shot hit the outside of the post after good work from Abada as Celtic looked for a fifth.

But he would have to make do with the double and a man of the match award as a well deserved early Christmas gift.

David Turnbull was shown a red-card in the 6th minute of injury time for serious foul play after hitting the goalkeeper as they both went for the ball.

An initial yellow card was overturned after a VAR check and the home side were reduced to ten men in the closing stages.

Celtic now play Hibs in Edinburgh on Wednesday before making the short trip across the city to play Rangers at Ibrox on January 2.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code