St Johnstone 0-2 Celtic: James Forrest and Timothy Weah end Saints resistance with late show

3 Feb

Celtic regained their six point lead over Rangers as late goals from James Forrest and Timothy Weah sealed a 2-0 victory at St Johnstone.

The home side missed two early chances before the Hoops dominated possession, forcing Saints keeper Zander Clark into a series of saves in the second half before winger Forrest broke the deadlock in the 78th minute.

James Forrest finally broke the deadlock

Weah, on for injured fellow substitute Odsonne Edouard, notched in the 89th minute to clinch the victory, with Hoops defender Kristoffer Ajer then sent off for preventing Saints substitute Callum Hendry as he made his way towards the opposition goal.

It was Celtic’s second win in four days over St Johnstone following their 2-0 victory at Parkhead on Wednesday night and it increased their points advantage over Old Firm rivals Rangers.

There was less than a minute played when Ajer required treatment after sustaining a knock to the face in an aerial challenge with former Celtic forward Tony Watt.

While Ajer was still on the sidelines, Matty Kennedy forced his way through the middle of the Celtic defence but his shot was blocked by Hoops keeper Scott Bain, with Danny Swanson unable to capitalise on the rebound.

Restored to their full complement of players, Celtic took control of the ball but the home side had another chance in the 12th minute when overlapping left-back Scott Tanser found Watt with a cut-back but his left-footed effort from 10 yards missed the target.

A last-gasp tackle by St Johnstone defender Jason Kerr on Hoops striker Oliver Burke, after the Perth side had got themselves into trouble with a slack Swanson pass-back, had the travelling support calling for a penalty but referee Willie Collum gave a goal kick.

Celtic missed a host of chances

The first half ended goalless with new signing Jeremy Toljan replacing right-back Mikael Lustig to make his debut for the start of the second period.

Clark made saves from Ajer’s deflected shot and Burke’s powerful drive as Celtic quickly re-established their dominance.

Saints, however, passed up another chance in the 52nd minute when Watt just missed a wonderful in-swinging cross from Kennedy to the back post.

Saints had their fair share of chances

Burke had another drive saved by Clark before he made way for Edouard with the keeper soon saving an effort from the French striker, after he had denied Hoops defender Jozo Simunovic.

A goalmouth melee in the 70th minutes from Forrest’s cross saw Clark foil Scott Sinclair with the McDiarmid Park side escaping when skipper Joe Shaughnessy got to the loose ball before Edouard a yard from goal.

The Frenchman was injured in his attempt to get the ball – he was taken away on a stretcher – and he was replaced by United States international Weah.

Edouard was stretchered off

The reigning champions kept going and eventually scored in the 78th minute when Weah reached the byline and cut the ball back for Forrest, who got in front of Tanser to prod in from a yard out.

Forrest went off injured, leaving Celtic with 10 men, before Weah tapped in a cross from Callum McGregor to seal the win.

Celtic were further depleted when Ajer picked up his red card in added time for blocking Hendry, who had come on for debutant Sean Goss.

Celtic transfer news: John Hartson laughs at Liverpool’s proposed £8million bid for James Forrest

15 Jan

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has described Liverpool’s proposed £8million move for James Forrest as laughable.

The Reds are reportedly lining up a bid for the 27-year-old this summer, however Hartson believes the amount quoted falls way short of the mark.

James Forrest is reportedly wanted by Liverpool

Forrest has been at Celtic for 16 years after joining their academy in 2003 and has nearly racked up 200 appearances for the first team.

And Hartson claims it will take triple the reported figure to even get Celtic’s attention.

“I have to say that I laughed when I saw the figures quoted for James Forrest this weekend,” he wrote in the Evening Times.

“£8million? That might get you his big toe.

“Aside from the fact that the lad himself has signed a long-term deal with Celtic, the club he has been with since primary school, the money quoted for him is laughable.

“We are not talking about a pup at 16 or 17. We are talking about a boy who has scored goals at international and Champions League level and who has blossomed into an winger who guarantees double-figure goals.

John Hartson says Liverpool will need deeper pockets to get James Forrest

“The days of English clubs coming in and getting players for pennies are long gone.

“If Liverpool or anyone else want him then they will have to have very deep pockets.”

Celtic transfer news: Latest on Forrest to Liverpool, Hoops chasing Josh Maja and James McCarthy, Porto prepare Olivier Ntcham bid

15 Jan

Celtic have been busy in the transfer window this month as they prepare for their title run-in with Rangers.

The Hoops have already signed Timothy Weah and Oliver Burke on loan, as well as completing a permanent move for Vacoun Issouf Bayo.

Brendan Rodgers is keen to strengthen this month

They are yet to lose anyone, but according to reports, big clubs continue to circle around their star players. rounds up some of the biggest rumours below…

Liverpool plotting £8million bid for James Forrest

Celtic’s star man James Forrest has caught Liverpool’s eye and they are reportedly planning an £8million bid in the summer.

Jurgen Klopp is understood to be a fan of the 27-year-old and it’s easy to see why – Forrest has 11 goals in 34 appearances this season.

According to the Scottish Sun, the Reds have kept an eye on Forrest for several months ahead of a potential summer bid.

However, John Hartson has claimed the reported amount – £8million – would not even buy Forrest’s big toe.

James Forrest is reportedly wanted by Liverpool

Celtic interested in signing Josh Maja

According to reports, the Hoops are keen on the signature of 20-year-old Sunderland striker Josh Maja.

The young Englishman has been hugely impressive in League One this season, scoirng 14 goals in just 23 games.

His current contract expires in the summer and he has already rejected a lucrative new deal, so the Black Cats will be tempted to cash in this month.

The Chronicle reports Celtic are one of several clubs looking to sign the talented forward.

Josh Maja appears destined to leave Sunderland

Hoops reignite interest in James McCarthy

Everton midfielder James McCarthy was linked with Celtic back in January 2017 and, according to reports, they’re back in for him this month.

The Irishman suffered a horrific leg break a year ago, but returned to the Toffees’ squad for their recent 2-1 FA Cup victory over Lincoln.

Nonetheless, he will struggle to displace Everton’s midfield pairing of Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes, so he may seek better opportunities elsewhere.

West Ham are also interested in the 28-year-old, who has made more than 125 appearances for Everton since joining from Wigan in 2013.

James McCarthy has recovered from a long-term injury

Porto prepare £14million bid for Olivier Ntcham

Celtic are facing the prospect of a £14million summer bid from Porto for Olivier Ntcham.

And the Scottish Sun report the deal could include former Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba going the other way.

The French midfielder, 22, has been the subject of Porto’s interest for a while and they failed with a bid to sign him last summer.

And despite Ntcham penning a new deal with Celtic in November, the Portuguese giants are not prepared to take no for an answer.

Porto are big admirers of Olivier Ntcham

Liverpool transfer news: Jurgen Klopp ‘plots move for Celtic ace James Forrest’ with Hoops demanding £8million

13 Jan

Liverpool are considering a move for Celtic winger James Forrest, according to reports.

Forrest, 27, has spent his entire career at Parkhead and is now into his 10th season as a first-team player for the Hoops.

He remains a key figure under Brendan Rodgers, scoring 11 goals and creating a further 17 in 34 appearances this season as Celtic look to win their eighth Scottish top flight title in a row.

Forrest’s impressive performances have garnered interest from Liverpool

Forrest’s form has earned admiring glances from south of the border, and the Scottish Sun say Liverpool have been keeping tabs on him for a number of months.

And Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, has been suitably impressed to weigh up a potential bid for Forrest.

Any offer for the Scotland international will not be made until the summer, however, as Klopp is not looking to add any reinforcements to his squad throughout the January transfer window with Liverpool currently leading the Premier League title race.

Forrest has won 26 caps for Scotland

Celtic will reportedly demand around £8million for Forrest, with Rodgers unwilling to lose one of his key performers any time soon.

Naturally a winger, Forrest has also been used in a more defensive role by Rodgers with the 27-year-old occasionally being selected as a wing-back over the past couple of seasons.