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Game Details
Game Details
Game Details

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By ESPN Staff

Kayal pleased to open Celtic account

Beram Kayal was content to help Celtic extend their advantage at the top of the table as his goal was enough to beat St Johnstone 1-0.

Celtic goalscorer happy to open account

Kayal scored his first Hoops goal just before half-time to seal a win that moved his side move five points clear of Rangers.

"I'm happy because the team won - it was important to win," he told ESPN. "I have scored two goals in a month now. I scored my first for Israel and now here.

"It's important to continue on Sunday in the (Scottish Cup) semi-final; all the focus is now on that game."

Striker Daryl Murphy was happy to seal the points on a difficult night at McDiarmid Park.

"Winning is always satisfying when conditions don't suit," he said. "We had to work hard and sometimes you have to go along and hope for the best. Thankfully this man (Kayal) came up with goal."

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was glad to make a winning return to the touchline after completing a five-game ban.

"It was a game I was concerned about in the circumstances but I thought we went about our business well," he said. "With better finishing it could have been comfortable."

Lennon praised the performance of Kayal, adding: "He's a wonderful player - he's had a wonderful season so far. He was feeling tired before the game but there was no way we were going to leave him out.

"It was a good team performance. There were no failures. It was always a little worrying at 1-0, anything can happen especially with the pitch as bobbly as it was, but Fraser (Forster) was comfortable. We were comfortable defensively."

Striker Gary Hooper did not start after his injury worries but Lennon said he expected him to return for the weekend's match with Aberdeen.

"He should be (fine). He was sore today so we decided not to take that chance," he said. "Hopefully he'll be fit for Sunday."

St Johnstone boss Derek McInnes was happy with the commitment of his side, which was largely a second-string selection ahead of their semi-final with Motherwell on Saturday.

"I asked the players for a committed performance to stop a good Celtic team from enjoying the game," he said. "They did that, but we just didn't carry as much threat as we wanted.

"It was disappointing that ten seconds from half-time to concede, but there were a lot of good performances. To a man they worked very, very hard."


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