Celtic flexed their muscles at St Johnstone to ensure the weekend ended with their nine-point lead over Rangers at the top of the cinch Premiership remained intact.
The chasing Light Blues beat Ross County 2-1 at Ibrox on Saturday but the champions refused to be pressurised at McDiarmid Park in a convincing 4-1 win.
Saints defender Andrew Considine turned a Kyogo Furuhashi cross into his own net in the 13th minute and the Japan striker notched midway through the first half before wide-man Drey Wright pulled a goal back three minutes later.
Midfielder Aaron Mooy restored Celtic’s two-goal lead in the 38th minute with Considine – appearing in his 600th club game – sent off by referee David Dickinson in added time for a pull on Oh Hyeon-gyu, with fellow substitute David Turnbull adding the fourth from the resulting free-kick.
Ange Postecoglou’s champions have lost once in 25 league games this season and once again they looked a formidable outfit.
St Johnstone’s 2-0 win at Motherwell on Wednesday was their first victory in eight games but little was expected against the Parkhead men.
James Brown, Tony Gallacher, Graham Carey and Connor McLennan came into the home side’s line-up while Postecoglou made just one change, with Mooy replacing Matt O’Riley in midfield for the lunchtime kick-off where the home side battled hard to get an early foothold in the game.
The Hoops slowly gained control and took take the lead when Furuhashi raced on to a pass from Mooy and from the byline his attempted ball towards fellow Japanese team-mates Daizen Maeda and Reo Hatate was turned into his own net from close range by the helpless Considine.
The early blow to the belief of the Perth side was compounded in the 22nd minute when Furuhashi fired high past Perth goalkeeper Remi Matthews after Portuguese winger Jota’s cross following a long pass from Mooy, who was having a fine game.
It looked like being another romp for the champions but they switched off for a moment and Wright drove past Hoops keeper Joe Hart from 20 yards to give the home side some hope.
However, the visitors remained calm and Jota’s clever chip over the St Johnstone defence gave Mooy time and space to calmly lob Matthews from 16 yards.
Furuhashi’s shot over the bar was the last chance in the first half and Jota came close to scoring in the 53rd minute when he skimmed the crossbar with a 24-yard drive following a scintillating Celtic move.
Celtic kept pushing and probing although five minutes later, in a rare St Johnstone attack, McLennan could not get on the end of a Carey cross just yards from goal.
Liel Abada and O’Riley replaced Hatate and Maeda in the 69th minute while Saints midfielder David Wotherspoon came on for Wright.
Abada lofted a cross from Jota over the bar in the 75th minute before Zak Rudden came on to make his St Johnstone debut amid another batch of substitutions.
When Considine was sent packing for his foul on Oh just outside the box, Turnbull took a short O’Riley pass and fired past Matthews, with the goal confirmed after a long VAR check for offside.