Celtic easily dispatched of St Mirren 3-0 in Paisley last night, as Brendan Rodgers’ side finished the festive fixture list with four wins out of four heading into the winter break.

The visitors to St Mirren started the game with both speed and precision, opening the scoring within a minute through Daizen Maeda. Just five minutes later they doubled their lead, as Matt O’Riley turned from provider to predator, putting the ball past Zach Hemming following great work by Paulo Bernardo. Despite Celtic’s best efforts to get a third before half-time, the side went in at the break 2-0 up, buoyed by the red card shown to Toyosi Olusanya in stoppage time for a studs-up challenge following a lengthy VAR check.

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Celtic completely dominated proceedings in the second half but could only add one further goal on the night against Stephen Robinson’s depleted side. This would be provided by Bernardo – his second assist of the night – to Greg Taylor, who smashed the ball past Hemming. Liam Scales, Yang Hyun-jun, Oh Hyeon-gyu and Bernardo had big chances to make the game more comprehensive in the scoreline, but their chances either went wide or were expertly saved by the impressive Hemming in the opposition goal. Regardless, the contest was over, and Celtic notched up another win in the Scottish Premiership.

Rodgers made just one change from the side that defeated Rangers in the Glasgow Derby. That one was enforced, as the injured Stephen Welsh was replaced by Maik Nawrocki, who started his first game since August against Kilmarnock in the League Cup. Elsewhere, Bernardo continued his recent run of starting games, whilst Maeda and Luis Palma supported Kyogo up front in an attacking sense. There was no change to the full-backs, as Taylor and Johnston continued to feature, meanwhile, O’Riley and captain Callum McGregor made up the rest of the midfield.

Using StatsBomb, The Celtic Way brings you a match report like no other…

The match

Celtic’s utter dominance in this game is clear for all to see, especially in the xG race chart above. Based on the chances created, StatsBomb only gave St Mirren a one per cent chance of winning this football match, with a draw unlikely also at five per cent. Because of this, Celtic had a massive 94 per cent chance of winning based on their creativity in and around the goal.

The spectators had barely taken their seats when a section were off of them, as Celtic took an early lead to stamp their authority on proceedings. McGregor passed the ball into O’Riley, who quickly played a cutting pass out wide to Maeda, whose speed was too much for his marker. Taking a touch, the Japan international took a shot and converted, despite Hemming’s best efforts at keeping it out. A devastatingly quick manoeuvre, Maeda’s shot registered as 0.41, though his PSxG decreased to 0.35 following the strike leaving his boot. This perhaps paints the picture more clearly of Maeda’s rashness, particularly in front of the goal, as his probability of converting lowered thanks to his shot selection. Still, he converted, and in turn, scored Celtic’s first goal of 2024 in the process.

In the first six minutes of this game, Celtic looked back to their clinical and dangerous best, as they doubled their lead just five minutes after converting their first goal. Much like the opener, this goal was a joy to watch from start to finish, orchestrated by the brilliance of Bernardo. Palma was involved in this one, playing a direct pass into the path of the Portugal U21 international. What happens next is brilliance from a Celtic perspective, as Bernardo managed to impressively turn Alex Gogic before laying the ball off to O’Riley. The Denmark cap took a touch to get past his defender, before sliding the ball under Hemming, his 20th goal involvement, in what has been an incredible season so far for the dynamic midfielder. Much like Maeda, O’Riley’s PSxG was lower than his xG, as his shot selection was perhaps not the wisest decision (0.26 to 0.09). Regardless, Celtic were cruising, and on the hunt for more goals against a struggling St Mirren side.

Despite Celtic’s best efforts to make the scoreline more favourable, they were unable to capitalise on several chances created. Three of these came from headers, but Kyogo, Nawrocki and O’Riley couldn’t test the goalkeeper with these opportunities (0.19 combined xG). They went in at the break ahead by two goals, and with more men on the pitch.

The second half was essentially one-way traffic, as Celtic looked to make their advantage over their opponents greater. Following a great save by Hemming to deny Bernardo his third goal in as many games, he would again provide one of his teammates with a golden opportunity. Finding himself in a position just outside of the box, Bernardo plays an audacious lobbed ball into the box, which is met by Taylor, who dispatches the chance like a striker rather than a defender. Yet again, this chance lowered from xG to PSxG, as 0.25 dropped to 0.12 when the ball left his boot. The strike, however, was too much for Hemming to handle, which made its way into the roof of the net.

This was to be the end of the scoring for the evening, though not down to a lack of trying. Substitute Liel Abada came close (0.22 xG), whilst Oh and Yang had a quickfire double of opportunities during the same move (0.26 xG combined). Scales’ header hit the post (0.06 xG), while Johnston and Oh had two further opportunities to increase Celtic’s lead. Due to a mixture of poor finishing and inspired goalkeeping, that failed to be the case. (0.32 xG).


An improvement in the shots department from Saturday’s win over Rangers, Celtic managed 25 shots, with 11 of them forcing Hemming into action. From the shot map above, Celtic elected to take more chances inside the opposition’s box, with only a few shots situated outside of the penalty area. 18 shots were inside the box, showing a keenness to work the ball into St Mirren’s area. It could and should have been more on the night, but Rodgers will be happy that his team are back firing on all cylinders once again.

O’Riley was Celtic’s top shooter in this game, though he only managed three shots in total with an xG of 0.37. Kyogo, Yang, Reo Hatate and Maeda each had two to their name, on what was a night where a lot of players were going for goal, rather than one player being given all of the service.


As expected, given the gulf in quality and the man advantage, Celtic dominated proceedings on the ball. The champions had 72 per cent possession and completed 678 of their 783 total passes at a percentage of 87 per cent, in what was a dominant display from Rodgers’ side.

The passing network gives a rough idea of where the majority of the game was played and who was the most involved. Remember that the warmer the colour, the more influential the player was in the game, and the thicker the passing lines, the more passes between the players.

StatsBomb measures pass contributions in on-ball value (often referred to as OBV, a term breakdown of which can be read here).

The passing networks for Celtic in both the first and second half indicate how the game changed in terms of what transpired. In the opening 45 minutes from an OBV perspective, it is clear that a lot of joy was coming from Taylor at left-back, judging by his OBV colouring in the diagram. Nawrocki and Johnston had good first halves also in the eyes of this metric, though the Scotland international was the standout for Celtic in this category.

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He managed to keep it up following the restart, though he was joined by his captain concerning standout OBV performances. Playing not unlike a midfielder – a role he thrived in under Ange Postecoglou last season – Taylor and his teammate McGregor both had tremendous on-ball performances during the second half. Praise must also go to the likes of Yang, Scales, Gustaf Lagerbielke and Johnston, as they all showed up well concerning OBV performances during this period.

Looking at pure statistics concerning OBV, Taylor was a standout, contributing 0.78 for 94 of his passes. His full-back partner Johnston was second with 0.20 for 62 passes, whilst O’Riley, Maeda and Palma all recorded negative stats in this metric, the former scoring -0.13 for 66 passes.

In terms of key passes for Celtic, Taylor again led for Celtic in another key metric. He managed six in total, clocking up an xG score of 0.70 in the process, whilst O’Riley had four of his own at 0.52. Palma and Bernardo had three, meanwhile, Johnston had two.


Despite not needing to defend as much in the game due to the situation unfolding in the match, Celtic applied more pressures than their opponents despite having much more of the ball. 139 to 130 in favour of the visitors, they also managed more pressure regains at a differential of 26 to 16.

For individual pressure statistics, Johnston and Bernardo had 17 each, whilst Maeda had 16. For counterpressures, Bernardo had six, whilst Johnston had five. These lower figures are expected, as Celtic dominated the ball, though it is good to still see decent numbers off the ball despite their dominance on it.

Celtic’s defensive numbers were good too, with Nawrocki and Johnston both managing four combined tackles and interceptions. Scales had six clearances in the game and five aerial duel wins, though this was a joint-highest total as substitute Lagerbielke managed just as many in his short time on the pitch.


Overall, a solid win for Celtic, regardless of the way the game went in terms of red cards and their opposition having a rare off day. At present, they sit eight points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership table, though their rivals Rangers have two games in hand. Despite this, Rodgers will be happy with the way the squad has responded over the past fortnight or so, as his players have managed maximum points during the busy festive schedule.

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Now with three weeks until their next game – Buckie Thistle in the Scottish Cup – Rodgers can give his players a well-earned break and prepare for what will be a busy schedule when they return to playing matters. Who knows, by the time that cup game comes around, he may have some new players to bed into proceedings, given the winter transfer window is now officially underway.

Still, they capped off the first half of the season with a resounding win, in a location where they have had problems previously. All in all, a good night at the office for Rodgers and his team.