A Niall McGinn double helped take Celtic level on points with Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders Rangers in a comfortable 3-0 lunchtime win over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Hoops' wide man McGinn had the visitors ahead with just over a minute gone and four minutes from the end of a one-side half Emilio Izaguirre grabbed the second.

Saints defender Danny Grainger, booked for dissent following the opening goal, was given a second yellow by referee Murray for a foul on Anthony Stokes before McGinn scored his second from a Cha Du-Ri pass.

The visitors and they took the lead with little over a minute gone, after Perth midfielder Liam Craig had fouled Georgios Samaras. Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng cut the free-kick back to Stokes whose drive was parried by Saints keeper Graeme Smith to the feet of McGinn who slammed in the rebound from close range.

The McDiarmid Park pitch had passed a morning inspection following heavy rain but Celtic adapted well and in the eighth minute Ki rattled a drive against the post after taking a clever pass from Stokes, with Cha driving the rebound from distance high over the bar.

In the 41st minute the home side were in further trouble when Izaguirre intercepted a slack back pass by Steven Milne at the edge of the box and burst through past Dave Mackay to slip the ball under Graeme Smith.

The match looked beyond St Johnstone and in the 49th minute only a fine save by Smith from Izaguirre, after good work by Stokes at the edge of the box in brushing off Mackay, prevented a third.

Moments later at the other end, Marcus Haber missed a sitter after Fraser Forster had parried from Jennison Myrie-Williams and would have been happy to see the flag raised for offside.

The game was petering out although in a rare Saints attack Forster had to move smartly from his goal to take the ball away from the toes of Sam Parkin. In the 82nd minute McGinn raced on to an Izaguirre pass down the left and cut the ball back for Samaras but the Greece international missed the target from 12 yards.

Four minutes from time Grainger walked after receiving his second and then McGinn grabbed his second with a mis-kicked shot from Cha's cut-back.

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Topics:
#Fraser Forster
#Anthony Stokes
#Sam Parkin
#Dave Mackay
#Southampton
#Premier League
#Jennison Myrie-Williams
#Graeme Smith (Footballer)
#Jennison Myrie-Williams
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