Celtic preserved their eight-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table as they came from behind to defeat St Johnstone 3-1 at McDiarmid Park on Sunday.

Goals by skipper Callum McGregor, Matt O'Riley and James Forrest were enough to hand the champions all three points in Perth after Diallang Jaiyesimi had given the hosts a shock first-half lead.

Brendan Rodgers angrily hit out at his side's first half display and labelled his charges 'soft' and accused them of being 'bullied'.

However it was the introduction of substitutes Mikey Johnston, Oh Hyeon-gyu and Tomoki Iwata that lifted Celtic off the canvas in this one.

All three were mightily impressive and must surely have put themselves in contention for a starting berth against Hibs at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

Japanese midfielder Iwata superbly set up the third goal for Forrest after David Turnbull failed to make the most of another starting opportunity in Rodgers' team.

Rodgers was certainly delighted by Iwata's contribution from the bench once again and it will have given him much food for thought in terms of team selection in midweek.

READ MORE: Celtic's Brendan Rodgers praises goalscorer Tomoki Iwata

The 50-year-old said: "Tomoki Iwata set up the third goal for us, so all the subs made an impact."

It was only Iwata's seventh outing of the season but the player once named the MVP in Japan has shown in fits and starts that he has a valid contribution to make to the Celtic cause.

Rodgers also praised Iwata to the hilt when he netted his first-ever goal for Celtic in the 4-1 hammering of Hearts at Tynecastle back in October.

The Northern Irishman said: "It was a great finish and I am pleased for Tomoki. He works so hard. Some of these guys are very important for us. They may not start as many games as they would like but their contribution is really important. He came on and got his first goal for the club which is terrific."

Has Iwata now done enough with his latest display to merit a start against the capital club?

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