Sunday 11 December 2016

Forrest fires Celtic eight points clear at the top

St Mirren 0 Celtic 2

Published 04/04/2015 | 02:30

Celtic midfielder Kris Commons gets past a challenge from St Mirren's John McGinn during their Scottish Premiership clash at St Mirren Park. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire
Celtic midfielder Kris Commons gets past a challenge from St Mirren's John McGinn during their Scottish Premiership clash at St Mirren Park. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire

Ronnie Esplin Celtic went eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership with a perfunctory win over bottom side St Mirren in Paisley.

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Buddies goalkeeper Mark Ridgers made good saves from Kris Commons and James Forrest in the first half but the latter opened the scoring in the 63rd minute when he finished off a fine move from close range.

When Forrest's drive was blocked by the arm of St Mirren defender Victor Genev for a penalty in the 79th minute, midfielder Stefan Johansen slotted in the spot-kick to widen the gap over second-placed Aberdeen with nine games remaining for both teams.

Saints remain four points behind second-bottom Motherwell, whom they play on Tuesday night, but they proved awkward customers.

With a tough fixture schedule coming up, Hoops manager Ronny Deila took the chance to freshen up his side.

Commons, Forrest, Adam Matthews and Anthony Stokes returned to the starting line-up as Efe Ambrose, Gary Mackay-Steven, Nir Bitton and John Guidetti all started on the bench.

Celtic had picked up 13 wins and a draw in their previous 14 league matches against the Paisley side and there seemed little chance of St Mirren denting that record.

And so it proved. Celtic's goal was a rare touch of class. Scott Brown took the ball from Commons and threaded a pass through a packed penalty area to Matthews.

When the Wales defender cut the ball back, Forrest bundled it past Mark Ridgers to some relief from the travelling fans.

The points were sealed when Genev handled Forrest's shot, with Johansen confidently knocking the penalty past Ridgers.

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