Glasgow, United Kingdom | AFP | French striker Moussa Dembele scored one and created another two as Celtic thrashed St Johnstone 4-0 to break their own 100-year British record of unbeaten domestic matches
The Scottish champions extended their domestic unbeaten record to 63 to eclipse the Celtic team of Willie Maley who went 62 league games unbeaten — pre-League Cup whilst the Scottish Cup was not played during World War I — between 1915 and 1917.
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Brendan Rodgers’s team are joint-third now in UEFA’s all-time domestic unbeaten records list, alongside Moldovan side Sheriff Tiraspol.
Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps (88) — who ironically began Rodgers tenure last year with an embarrassing defeat in a Champions League first leg match — and Romania’s Steaua Bucharest — who won the European Cup in 1986 and reached the final in 1989 — of the late 1980s lead with 104.
“To have actually beaten what was a British record — and obviously Celtic were the holders of that already — means it’s a truly special day for the players and the club,” said Rodgers.
“It means everything. It’s an incredible feat by the players and a wonderful example of professionalism,” added the 44-year-old Northern Irishman.
St Johnstone had been the last side to defeat Celtic on domestic duty back in May 2016, but they never looked like repeating that feat.
Scott Sinclair opened the scoring in the 28th minute before Dembele added a second in the 72nd minute.
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Steven Anderson turned a Dembele cross into his own net two minutes later before Olivier Ntcham added a late fourth.
Celtic were unchanged from their Champions League 2-1 home defeat by Bayern Munich on Tuesday but they showed no signs of a European hangover as they quickly warmed to the task in the autumn sunshine.
A sluggish St Johnstone, without a goal since 23 September, went behind from Celtic’s first corner of the match.
Stuart Armstrong fired the low corner to the centre of the penalty area where there was plenty of space for the unmarked Sinclair to fire the ball high into the net beyond the despairing Zander Clark.
Celtic began the second half as they ended the first and came close to adding a second shortly after the restart.
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Celtic have broken their own record and gone 63 domestic games unbeaten. The longest run ever by a British top-flight team. pic.twitter.com/AeYhxsXLhB
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An Armstrong corner in the 53rd minute was met by Dedryck Boyata but his looping header was nodded off the line by Aaron Comrie at the back post.
Celtic doubled their lead when Dembele struck, the French striker started the move on the half-way line and burst into the box to get on the end of Armstrong’s cut-back to finish confidently past Clark.
Dembele proved to be a thorn in St Johnstone’s side as he set up Celtic’s third two minutes later.
Australian midfielder Tom Rogic fed the ball to the striker on the left wing and his attempt to pick out Sinclair with a cut-back came off Saints defender Anderson and trundled into his own net.
The French striker wasn’t finished as he then teed up substitute Ntcham to rifle a low strike past Clark with just a minute left as Celtic finished in style.