Celtic’s hopes of a domestic treble ended after St Mirren confirmed a Scottish Communities League Cup final place against Hearts following a 3-2 victory at Hampden Park.
Esmael Goncalves scored within eight minutes of his debut to give the Buddies the lead but Gary Hooper equalised right on the stroke of half-time.
The Hoops should then have taken the lead but Charlie Mulgrew’s penalty was saved by Craig Samson before the former Aberdeen defender conceded another one at the opposite end. Ex-Celtic striker Paul McGowan netted from the spot.
Striker Steven Thompson soon extended that advantage to make it 3-1, with Mulgrew grabbing a late injury-time consolation for the favourites.
St Mirren had always hoped for a fast start and got it when Goncalves volleyed in Conor Newton’s eighth-minute cross. John McGinn then forced a low save from Lukasz Zaluska, although the Paisley outfit had an escape as Hooper volleyed against the top of the crossbar.
And they soon enjoyed another one when Georgios Samaras headed Adam Matthews’ deep cross onto the woodwork before Hooper levelled with his 23rd goal of the campaign from Scott Brown’s cross.
Celtic missed a great chance to go ahead early in the second-half when Lassad’s shot was handled by Jim Goodwin after Brown had already struck wide. But Mulgrew’s penalty was excellently stopped by Samson – while Joe Ledley next curled narrowly over from the edge of the box.
The afternoon then grew from bad to worse for Mulgrew after being ruled to have blocked with his arm from Gary Teale’s cross and McGowan did the rest from the penalty.
Five minutes later Thompson got on the end of Marc McAusland’s cross to volley in and extend the advantage, while Teale forced a block from Zaluska after Mulgrew and Ledley were both unsuccessful at the other end. Substitutes Anthony Stokes and Kris Commons, in addition to Ledley with a header, also tried further attempts.
Mulgrew did convert a low drive through a busy area to reduce the deficit in added time but it was too late to spark any chance of a recovery from his side.
Celtic: Zaluska, Matthews, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre, Wanyama (Lustig 74), Brown, Ledley, Lassad (Commons 64), Samaras (Stokes 74), Hooper
subs (unused): Fasan, Kayal
Goals: Hooper (45), Mulgrew (90)
St Mirren: Samson, van Zanten, Goodwin, McAusland, Carey, Newton, McGinn (Barron 76), Teale, McGowan (Mair 90), Goncalves, Thompson
subs (unused): Adam, Mair, Imrie, Guy
Goals: Goncalves (8), McGowan (pen 64), Thompson (69)
Ref: W. Collum
|LATEST ON THE VITAL CELTIC FORUMS …|