Friday, January 27, 2023

Prediction: Celtic vs St. Johnstone

Verdict: Celtic win & Both teams to score

Best Odds: 19/10

Bookmaker: Unibet

Simply looking to widen their buffer at the top of the Premiership table on Christmas Eve lunchtime, Celtic will welcome St. Johnstone to Glasgow.

Celtic

Starting with the hosts, opening up Christmas Eve holding a commanding nine-point buffer over the chasing pack, Celtic appear to be cruising towards another Premiership crown this season. Marking their return from the World Cup break with back-to-back wins against Livingston and Aberdeen over the past week, Ange Postecoglou’s men will be looking to lay down another marker here. In fact, it should be highlighted, the Hoops have now won each of their last 10 straight top-flight matchups – a run that stems all the way back to September 18th. With the mood in their camp at a real high, the former Melbourne Victory boss has seen his side gain a fearsome reputation for their remarkable run on home soil. Without a single Premiership defeat at Celtic Park to their name since January 2021, it is no surprise that the Scottish giants are tipped as a landslide pick here.

Team News

Recording his 11th strike of the season in Celtic’s 2-1 victory against Livingston earlier in the week, Kyogo Furuhashi should spearhead the Hoops’ charge on Christmas Eve.

Postecoglou’s side are hopeful that World Cup star Josip Juranovic will be able to make his return here. However, Postecoglou’s side look set to once again be without the duo of Stephen Welsh and James McCarthy on Saturday afternoon.

St. Johnstone

As for the visitors, while St. Johnstone might have only just clung to their Premiership status last season, Callum Davidson’s men have continued to impress many across Scotland this time around. Last seen on December 17th when claiming a 2-1 victory away at Ross County, the Saints could now have their sights set on claiming a stunning bronze medal finish in 2023. In fact, on a run that is highlighted by a famous 2-1 win at home against former champions Rangers prior to the World Cup break, the Saints are now unbeaten in each of their last six top-flight showdowns. However, although Davidson’s side might be enjoying their brightest run in recent memory, Saturday’s guests face a huge challenge on Christmas Eve. Suffering a 2-1 defeat when they last faced off against Celtic on October 8th, it should be noted that St. Johnstone have lost each of their last seven straight meetings against the Hoops.

Team News

Coming off the bench and bagging a late brace away at Ross County last week, 31-year-old Alistair Crawford looks set for a full recall on Saturday afternoon. Despite drawing back-to-back blanks, Nicholas Clark will lead the Saints’ charge here.

However, still dealing with a pair of long-term injury issues, St. Johnstone will once again be without Murray Davidson and Chris Kane in Glasgow.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides last faced off on October 8th, Celtic picked up a 2-1 victory at McDiarmid Park.
    • The Hoops have won each of their last seven straight meetings against St. Johnstone.
    • Likewise, the defending Scottish champions are unbeaten in their previous 24 consecutive showdowns against St. Johnstone.
    • Celtic have not suffered a single Premiership contest on home soil since way back in January 2021.
    • St. Johnstone have seen six of their last seven matchups away from McDiarmid Park finish with both teams finding the net.

    Conclusion

    While St. Johnstone might find themselves enjoying a real purple patch, the Saints will know that they face a huge Christmas challenge here. Facing a Celtic side who appear to be storming towards another Premiership crown in 2023, Saturday’s hosts will also be boosted by a rampant record against the European dreamers. Including a 2-1 win when they made the trip to McDiarmid Park, the Scottish giants are remarkably unbeaten in each of their last 24 straight meetings. Although we could be treated to an enjoyable affair on Christmas Eve, we’re backing a home victory for the runaway leaders here.

    Verdict: Celtic win & Both teams to score

    Best Odds: 19/10

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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