IT’S rarely dull watching Celtic these days, but rarely can one of their matches have produced such late drama as this crucial, crazy win over St Johnstone.

St Johnstone thought they had snatched an unlikely draw at McDiarmid Park, as Celtic squandered a host of opportunities and Alex Mitchell popped up to cancel out Andy Considine’s own goal in injury-time.

Finally though, Giorgos Giakoumakis belatedly found his shooting boots to plunder an incredible late, late winner to ensure that Celtic didn’t pay the price for their wastefulness in front of goal.

Having no Callum McGregor is a problem for Celtic, but it is a more familiar failing that is now by far and away their biggest issue; their profligacy.

As has been a common theme for weeks now, if not longer, Celtic passed up chance after chance at McDiarmid Park, and despite midweek villain Joe Hart coming up with a big save at a crucial time, they may well have spilled precious points on the road following a Champions League tie yet again.

When they did get the opening goal, it was a St Johnstone player who actually applied the finishing touch as well, Considine slicing into his own net after some fine set-up play from Reo Hatate and Sead Haksabanovic.

It was those two – along with surprise starter Alexandro Bernabei – who shone brightest for the visitors, particularly Haksabanovic playing in an advanced role in behind Giakoumakis. He might have a couple of assists at least had his colleagues not let him down when it mattered.

All that being said, Celtic deserved the three points on the sheer weight of opportunities created and their domination of the ball, but they must start troubling the scoresheet more on the back of all the good they do up until that final touch. For the sake of their manager’s and fans’ blood pressure if nothing else.

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson was also looking for a reaction after their own midweek disappointment against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, and he made two changes to his side with Jamie Murphy and Max Kucheriavyi coming in for Stevie May and Ali Crawford.

There were sweeping changes made by Ange Postecoglou with this game falling between the Champions League double-header against RB Leipzig, with six changes from the side that lost in Germany.

One of those was enforced of course with the absence of captain McGregor through injury, though the prognosis came back a little more favourable than had been expected, with his knee problem expected to keep him out for ‘three to four weeks’ according to Postecoglou.

That was the catalyst for a re-shuffle as the Celtic manager looked to devise a strategy to mitigate the gaping hole he left in the middle of the park, shifting to a 4-2-3-1.

Cameron Carter-Vickers made a welcome return, with Anthony Ralston, Bernabei, Haksabanovic, Liel Abada and Giakoumakis the others to come in.

Despite the disruption to the line-up, Celtic started well, and Hatate was at the centre of it all. His pass put Bernabei in down the left and his low cross evaded everyone as it dribbled across the goalline.

Bernabei then poked the ball through for Jota to race away down the left, and his first time cross found Abada haring in at the back post, but with the goal at his mercy he couldn’t control the finish and the ball skewed over the bar.

Saints had an opening of their own as Nicky Clark burst through and attempted to loft he ball over Joe Hart, but he got too much on his attempt and it too drifted over.

The match was wide open, and Matt O’Riley was next to go close, his carefully-placed long range effort being tipped onto the post by Remi Matthews.

The game hit a lull though after that, with Celtic playing too many passes and doing it too slowly, allowing the hosts to frustrate them all too easily. Just as we looked to be drifting towards the break goalless though, Celtic did find the breakthrough, with a helping hand from the Saints.

A lovely ball from Hatate released Haksabanovic down the right, and he fired the ball across goal. Considine tried to cut it out, but succeeded only in slicing the ball high into his own net.

Jota took his leave at the interval to be replaced by Daizen Maeda, but Celtic maintained the momentum they had been given by the opening goal. A floated O’Riley cross from a free-kick was pummelled into the net by the head of Giaokoumakis, only for the offside flag to curtail his celebrations.

Haksabanovic was showing his creativity drifting into the central position behind the striker, and his ball then put Abada in, but Matthews was quickly off his line to smother. Hatate then won the ball as Saints tried to break and set up another chance for Abada, but Matthews was again equal to the winger’s low effort as he got down to tip wide.

While it was still 1-0 though, Saints always had a chance, and when it came it was a glorious one.

A simple high ball over the top of the Celtic defence suddenly had substitute May racing in on Hart, but the villain of midweek became the hero as he got down to tip the forward’s shot across goal onto the far post.

Maeda had the ball in the net at the other end with five minutes to go, but any idea of visiting nerves finally being settled were again denied by the offside flag.

The Saints sensed they had at least one more chance in them, and they were right. May swung in a ball from the right that made it all the way to Melker Hallberg at the back stick, but as all ends of the stadium held their breath, it was the Celtic fans who could exhale in relief as his shot cleared the bar.

Incredibly, Saints did manage to draw level in stoppage time, as Ali Crawford’s free-kick found its way to Mitchell in the penalty area, exposing another Celtic shortcoming; their ability to defend set-plays. The defender had time to control and pass into Hart’s bottom right-hand corner.

That looked to be that, but a cruel twist of fate for Saints and some opportunistic play from Bernabei saw them snatch the three points back from the brink of a damaging draw.

The full-back’s attempted cross was blocked by Drey Wright, but the Saints man hurt himself in the process, meaning he couldn’t clear the loose ball. James McCarthy seized upon it, releasing Bernabei to cross for Giakoumakis, who bundled it home to spark wild scenes at both ends of the stadium.