Celtic survive second-half scare to seal three points
Published 20/08/2016 | 19:21
Celtic fended off a second-half St Johnstone revival to win 4-2 at McDiarmid Park and give themselves a lift before a crucial Champions League trip to Israel.
On Tuesday, Celtic will aim to defend their 5-2 first-leg advantage against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the play-off round of Europe's lucrative club competition, with the group stage beckoning.
Before making the trip, however, Brendan Rodgers' team had Ladbrokes Premiership business with which to contend, and goals from Leigh Griffiths, Scott Sinclair and James Forrest saw them cruise 3-0 ahead by half-time.
There was almost a dramatic turnaround, but Celtic staved off the late threat.
Hoops substitute Liam Henderson fouled Danny Swanson to hand the home side a penalty in the 82nd minute which the St Johnstone midfielder converted, before striker Steven MacLean grabbed a second in the 88th minute.
Ryan Christie struck from close range in added time to relax Celtic, who made it two wins from two matches in the early stages of their title defence.
Kenny Miller rescued victory for Rangers as his last-minute strike handed the Light Blues a dramatic 2-1 win at Ibrox.
Mark McGhee claimed his side would not have it as tough as they did while shipping five goals against Celtic in the Betfred Cup two weeks ago and he was right as the Gers toiled to break the visitors down.
His side took the lead after 19 minutes when Scott McDonald tapped home from close range, but the outcome ended up the same as Miller slotted home in injury time - following Harry Forrester's 64th-minute equaliser - to claim the points and put Mark Warburton's men top.
Aberdeen overcame 10-man Partick 2-1 at Pittodrie thanks to goals from Niall McGinn and Miles Storey as Derek McInnes' men moved up to fourth.
Sean Welsh was sent off for the Jags, for whom Chris Erskine netted a late consolation.
Hearts captain Don Cowie inspired his side to their first Premiership win of the season after scoring twice and setting up two more goals in a 5-1 thrashing of Inverness.
The former Caley midfielder scored either side of a Conor Sammon header before Sam Nicholson grabbed a late brace, while Caley got on the scoresheet in the dying stages of the contest through Ross Draper.
It was a return to winning ways for Robbie Neilson's side against a Caley team still searching for their first point of the campaign.
Elsewhere, Liam Boyce's double eased Ross County to a deserved three points against Kilmarnock in a scrappy game at the Global Energy Stadium.
Boyce followed up his hat-trick in the Highland derby win last week with a clinical double in a 2-0 win against a Kilmarnock side who lacked a killer touch in front of goal.