Rodgers counts cost of victory

03 February 2019 13:40:24 EST

Celtic moved six points clear of Rangers with a 2-0 win over St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership, though it may be three points at a cost.

The home side were organised throughout the McDiarmid Park clash and largely kept the champions at bay.

Brendan Rodgers summoned first Odsonne Edouard and then Timothy Weah – after the Frenchman had to come back off injured – from his bench to bolster his attacking options and it was the on-loan Paris St-Germain forward Weah that inspired the Bhoys.

Weah's 78th minute cross was turned home from close range by James Forrest for the vital opening goal and the American teenager then led a sharp breakaway, exchanging passes with Callum McGregor for the easiest of finishes on 89 minutes, to seal the win.

But it was three points at a cost for Celtic.

We'll make do. We have some outstanding players who can play in those positions.

Brendan Rodgers

Record signing Edouard was stretchered off after he kicked the studs of Saints defender Ryan Shaughnessy in a goalmouth scramble only eight minutes into his cameo.

Celtic also lost Mikael Lustig to injury at half-time while goalscorer Forrest limped off with a hamstring problem near the end – leaving Celtic down to ten men with all their subs on. And they finished with nine as Kristoffer Ajer carelessly got himself sent off in stoppage time for a professional foul.

Rodgers - already without Kieran Tierney, Dedryck Boyata, Leigh Griffiths, Tom Rogic, Olivier Ntcham, Tony Ralston and Filip Benkovic for various reasons will have to re-adjust his pack for Wednesday's visit of Hibernian, while Celtic also have a Europa League tie with Valencia looming amid eight games in February.

"If you watch the replay again, the boy Shaughnessy's stretching and his foot is accidental as Odsonne's gone to hit it," Rodgers said of Edouard's injury.

"These modern boots are not so tough. It's just caught him right on the front of his foot so he's in a wee bit of pain but hopefully he will be okay.

"James is more of a worry, he felt his hamstring a bit tight. We had to play the last 10 minutes or so with 10 men.

"We'll make do. We have some outstanding players who can play in those positions. We will assess it on Monday and see where we're at."

Celtic are 2/1 to beat Valencia in Glasgow on 14th February in their last-32 first leg. The La Liga side are 8/5 while the draw is 9/4.

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