By Matt Farr
Football Insider analyses three major talking points from Celtic’s impressive 5-2 victory over St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.
Rodgers is in a position that most can only dream of
Most managers dream of having such a vast array of options at their disposal, and no doubt many will envy Rodgers. The Celtic boss can rotate his squad every week, allowing the young players and those on the fringes to get their fair share of opportunities, and aside from a minor blip in the first-half, it mattered little to the outcome of the game. Celtic began the game without the likes of Stuart Armstrong, Moussa Dembele and Leigh Griffiths – three of their key performers during the first-half of the campaign, instead handing opportunities to Liam Henderson and Gary Mackay-Steven. Henderson, in particular, was very good. The introduction of Dembele in the second-half of the game was the game-changer, but with yet another comfortable victory on the books for Rodgers’ side, it has shown he can still win games without some of his strongest assets. Plus, with a 27-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership, he can afford to make such changes without it costing them their place at the top.
Mackay-Steven should be dropped
After being handed a rare opportunity to impress in the starting XI, he failed to make his mark. With Celtic already in the ascendency, the 26-year-old had a glorious chance on the break to double Celtic’s lead but spurned the opportunity. He needs to being making the most of those opportunities in front of goal to keep himself in the first-team picture; particularly with a number of Celtic’s more regular faces set to return in the coming weeks. He had a few chances later on in the game, but his lack of composure shone through before he was eventually replaced by Moussa Dembele. He has now appeared in six of Celtic’s matches in all competitions this season, but with performances like that, he shan’t be making many more.
Dembele the hero
Things weren’t exactly going to plan for Celtic when Moussa Dembele was introduced into the game. They were the dominant side, yet they found themselves chasing a one-goal deficit. However, as he often has this season, the 20-year-old changed the game. Within moments of coming on, Celtic had a penalty – a rather dubious one, but Dembele didn’t care. He slotted home the equaliser from the spot, before adding a second and a third goal to send St. Johnstone packing. Dembele now has 23 goals this season, and he is showing exactly why a top English club like Chelsea was interested in him last month.
In other Celtic news, here is how the Celtic players rated during the victory.