Hoops hammer Saints
Mowbray's men move to the top of the table with comfortable win
Last Updated: 22/08/09 8:16pm
Fortune: At the double
Marc-Antoine Fortune broke his duck for Celtic on Saturday as they hammered St Johnstone 5-2 at Parkhead.
The summer signing notched either side of the interval for Tony Mowbray's side, while Shaun Maloney also bagged a brace.
Scott McDonald put the seal on a comfortable afternoon's work for the Hoops, with Colin Samuel and Jody Morris on target for the visitors.
While Celtic boss Tony Mowbray will be glad to see Fortune get off the mark, and will he pleased with good displays from Maloney and Aiden McGeady, it was another game that skipper Gary Caldwell will want to forget.
He scored an own goal in the UEFA Champions League defeat against Arsenal on Tuesday, less than a week after being sent off for Scotland in their 4-0 World Cup qualifying defeat by Norway in Oslo.
Today his clumsy attempt to head Alan Main's clearance to Glenn Loovens in the 37th minute handed Samuel the chance to get themselves back in to the game which had looked over after Fortune and Maloney had put the home side two goals up.
On another day, that mistake could have proved more costly.
Celtic made an indifferent start to the game and in the 14th minute they had midfielder Scott Brown to thank for a wonderful saving tackle at the edge of the Celtic box after Chris Millar had sent Filipe Morais racing through.
Moments later, McGeady showed for the first time when he flashed a 25-yard drive over the bar, a minute before McDonald screwed a drive wide from 16 yards.
But in the 21st minute the home fans got what they wanted when Fortune opened his account for the Hoops.
Maloney scampered down the left and when his precise cut-back came into the Saints box, Fortune calmly side-footed the ball into the corner from around 14 yards.
Moments later Fortune almost doubled his tally but St Johnstone defender Stuart McCaffrey cleared his header off the line.
Celtic were on top and Saints goalkeeper Main had to concede a corner when blocking McDonald's angled drive with the visiting side eventually emerging unscathed.
But the respite was only temporary and in the 28th minute Celtic defender Andreas Hinkel linked up with McGeady down the right.
When Hinkel's cross came over, Maloney was allowed to rise unchallenged to bullet a header past Main from 10 yards.
That goal seemed to sap the Perth men of most of their belief but in the 37th minute they were handed a lifeline when Samuel pounced on Caldwell's mistake to reduce the deficit.
Caldwell tried to head Main's long clearance across to Loovens but failed to connect properly and the ball fell to the Saints striker who quickly rifled a wonderful low drive from 25 yards past Artur Boruc.
McGeady almost repaired the damage less than a minute into the second half when he worked a one-two with Fortune down the right but his angled drive was parried by Main for a corner which the visitors survived.
Celtic went up through the gears and soon had the points secure.
In the 53rd minute Maloney grabbed his second goal with a powerful drive from the edge of the penalty area and a minute later McGeady slipped in Fortune and the former Nancy striker buried his shot from 14 yards past Main.
That was the match over but moments later Fortune missed a great chance to grab a hat-trick when he somehow stabbed Hinkel's long cross to the back post wide of the target from around four yards.
In the 67th minute, following a good cross from Saints substitute Martin Hardie, Boruc made a decent save from Samuel's header but there was no way back for the Perth men.
In the 74th minute McDonald made it 5-1 when he headed in Danny Fox's cross from close range after the former Coventry left-back had taken Maloney's pass from a corner.
However, two minutes later, after some indecision in the Celtic defence, St Johnstone midfielder Morris somehow managed to burrow his way into the box and trundle a shot in off the post.
It was a comfortable win for the home side who will know that they will find tougher opposition when they take on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in midweek.