Celtic missed the chance to extend the gap in the Scottish Premiership to nine points after a stunning Danny Swanson effort gave St Johnstone a shock 1-0 victory at Parkhead.
The Hoops were far from their best and were made to rue several missed chances when Swanson popped up with a wonderful half-volley which gave Craig Gordon in goal no chance.
It was the dash of quality which was perhaps lacking from Ronny Deila’s men on a night their eight-game winning league run came to an end and breathed new life into Aberdeen’s hopes of a title challenge.
Derek McInnes’ side were convincingly beaten just three days ago by the league leaders and it was predicted that the outcome would be no different on Wednesday against Tommy Wright’s side, but it didn’t go to plan for Celtic.
The Hoops made a bright start and created a couple of chances but after Stuart Armstrong saw his shot blocked and Anthony Stokes curled wide it felt as though they were going through the motions as they struggled to break down a resilient Saints side.[embedded content]
Frustration was seeping into the hosts play as they were limited to long-range efforts and, as the first half wore on, St Johnstone grew in confidence.
David Wotherspoon demonstrated great feet as his danced his way through the Celtic rearguard but his shot was comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Gordon.
Mubarak Wakaso replaced Adam Matthews at the break and immediately provided the Hoops with more attacking impetus.
The Ghanaian’s wicked delivery was met by Gary Mackay-Steven but he couldn’t execute the volley properly but Swanson had no issues in that department as he gave St Johnstone the lead.
The Hoops defence did not clear the ball properly and Swanson punished them, catching the ball perfectly on the half-volley from 25 yards to put the Saints ahead.
Celtic pushed for the equaliser, with Stokes engineering space to have a shot which was well saved by Mannus before Efe Ambrose’s header from a corner forced the Saints keeper into another fine save.
St Johnstone could have put the result beyond doubt when Steven MacLean’s knock-down was met by Chris Millar, who blazed over, but it mattered little in the end as they managed to withstand some heavy pressure to secure an unlikely result in Glasgow’s East End.