Saturday 23 September 2017

Boyata winner helps Bhoys match Lisbon Lions' record

Celtic 1 St Johnstone 0

Celtic's Dedryck Boyata celebrates scoring his side's winner. Photo: PA
Celtic's Dedryck Boyata celebrates scoring his side's winner. Photo: PA

Ronnie Esplin

Celtic matched the Lisbon Lions' unbeaten domestic record as Dedryck Boyata scored the only goal of the game against St Johnstone at Parkhead last night.

Jock Stein's all-conquering Hoops side of 1967 went 26 games without defeat in Scotland at the start of the season which saw them win which every competition they played in including the European Cup.

St Johnstone's Chris Millar and Celtic's Scott Brown battle for the ball. Photo: PA
St Johnstone's Chris Millar and Celtic's Scott Brown battle for the ball. Photo: PA

With skipper Scott Brown making his 400th appearance for the club, Celtic struggled to break down an organised Saints side until the 73rd minute when defender Boyata, just back in the side against Albion Rovers at the weekend and making only his third appearance of the season, headed in a Stuart Armstrong corner.

Celtic moved 22 points clear of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premiership. And while any comparisons with Stein's side has to be put in context of a much-changed Scottish football landscape, nevertheless the achievement in Brendan Rodgers' first season is commendable and points the way to a possible domestic treble, the League Cup already in the trophy room.

It had looked like being plain sailing for the home side when winger Scott Sinclair had the ball in the net with a header in the 10th minute but the assistant linesman ruled that the ball had crossed the bye-line before James Forrest had floated it to the back post.

The champions' grip on the match tightened as the interval approached but top scorer Moussa Dembele looked off the pace and twice turned Sinclair's cut-backs wide of the target.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates the record-equalling victory
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates the record-equalling victory

Celtic couldn't find a breakthrough but the introduction of Patrick Roberts added zip to the home side.

The winger, on loan from Manchester City, set up a chance with a great piece of trickery inside the box but Sinclair failed to convert.

Finally, having been denied a moment earlier, Boyata bulleted a header home from a corner and while the visitors came out of their shell a little, there was little doubt that Celtic would mark a historic achievement with victory.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport