Another day, another excellent performance.
The run goes on. The feel-good factor went up another notch.
We have put the pressure on the other lot for tomorrow.
Things are starting to come together in the way we would have wanted. This team is on the up.
Celtic didn’t blast past St Johnstone this afternoon, but we were comfortable. At no time did our ever improving defence – more on them later – look particularly vulnerable.
The forward players buzzed and harried and harassed and we always looked like scoring one and I knew if we got the one we’d get more.
St Johnstone defended deep. That’s all that kept this from being a cricket score, but for a team now in tenth they showed little adventurism and got what they deserved. Callum Davidson thought they played well.
Was that during their 21% of possession?
Because when a team sees as little of the ball as they did today they have to do something pretty special with it to merit that kind of praise.
On the other hand, I thought we played very well.
Apart from the defence, I thought the midfield showed bite and determination.
I thought our front three were excellent and even when the manager rotated I didn’t think they knew how to cope with what we had on the pitch. We’ve hit the post again aside from the goals and on another day that would have been a cricket score.
Individual performances are worth talking about. Ralston was superb. Juranovic at left back did very well indeed. That’s our strongest combination in the full-back areas, and will be even when everyone is fit. I wouldn’t change it at all.
The midfield had one of its best games, in terms of the way each player fought for the others and the pressing was one of the most devastating parts of the performance. We didn’t let them rest for two seconds. The way we kept and controlled the ball was brilliant.
And then there were the forwards. Kyogo, playing in an unfamiliar role, dragged defenders towards him constantly and somehow usually found a way to get away from them. One particular little first half moment of brilliance completely caught them cold.
Giakoumakis scored today, his first goal on his first start.
You cannot ask for more from a striker than that. He looks alert and fits in brilliantly with the team. He is going to get many, many goals for us in the course of this campaign. Really good hour from him.
Which brings us to Jota, the man of the match (again) by a country mile and a sheer pleasure to watch.
His interplay with Kyogo at one point in the second half, when they were through on the goal and seemed certain to score was magical and deserved the end product. What an understanding they are building between them, but that owes plenty to the talents of this Portuguese sensation who will be worth every penny when we, as must be inevitable, make that deal permanent.
We walked that today, and although one of our two goals was from the penalty spot the result more than flattered St Johnstone who weren’t at the races and couldn’t cope with the skills we brought to bear.
How they must dread the winner-takes-all against us at Hampden in a month’s time where this team will be even better and there will be no prizes for a 0-0 draw.