Celtic booked its place in the semifinals of the Scottish League Cup with an 5-0 easy victory over St Johnstone.
A hat trick from Kris Commons and goals from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew saw the SPL champion past the Perth side in superb style.
After the defeat at home to Kilmarnock on Saturday, Celtic boss Neil Lennon decided to ring the changes once again, with Mikael Lustig, Scott Brown, Victor Wanyama, Tony Watt and Hooper all coming into the starting lineup in place of Adam Matthews, Beram Kayal, James Forrest, Mulgrew and Miku.
Lennon’s opposite number and former Northern Ireland teammate Steve Lomas only made two changes from the team that drew away to Inverness CT, Frazer Wright and Nigel Hasselbaink both dropping out with David McCracken and Kevin Moon moving into the starting lineup.
Celtic dominated the first half, with Commons as the main tormentor of the Perth side as he peppered the St Johnstone goal with several long range efforts which had Alan Mannus in the St Johnstone goal extremely busy.
Eventually the home side did take the lead when Commons received the ball from Lustig on the edge of the area and unleashed a drive which cannoned off of Liam Craig and past Mannus in the Saints' goal.
The second came shortly after, when a superb passing move that started on the halfway line with Hooper finding Brown on the right and he in turn played in the overlapping Lustig, the Swedish international then found Hooper who had ran into the box and he slid in Commons to fire home his second of the game.
Lennon’s side continued to pile on the pressure, with St Johnstone’s McCracken smashing a header off of his own bar, before Emilio Izaguirre played the ball from the left to Commons and he played in Hooper to claim Celtic’s third of the evening.
St Johnstone started the second half a lot better than it had played during the first, but unfortunately couldn’t find a way towards the Celtic goal, with goalkeeper Fraser Forster having a quieter evening than he did in Barcelona last week, with only Gregory Tade coming anywhere near his goal.
The visitors were culpable for the fourth goal of the game as Steven Anderson hauled down Tony Watt as the striker tried to get onto a cross from Mulgrew and that allowed Commons to claim his hat trick from the penalty spot.
The mistakes continued at the back for St Johnstone, as this time Gary Miller failed to properly clear the ball inside his own six yard box, allowing substitute Mulgrew to get in on the goalscoring exploits, rattling the ball into the net.
Lomas' side had a couple to chances to get a goal back in the closing minutes, but neither David Robertson or Hasselbaink could find the target as Celtic cruised through to the semifinals of the competition.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Gary Hooper
- Kris Commons
- Charlie Mulgrew
- Mikael Lustig
- St Johnstone
- Scott Brown