Shaun Maloney gave Tony Mowbray something to smile about as he produced one of his best performances in a Celtic shirt since his return from Aston Villa as he helped his team to a great 5-2 win over St.Johnstone at Celtic Park.
The Hoops would have been delighted with the five goals today but none more so than the opening goal from Marc Antoine Fortune to open his Celtic account and get the people who have been knocking the Celtic striker in recent matches,now hopefully off his back!
The Celtic fans who went along to Celtic Park to see if the club could get over their European hangover were in for a treat as Shaun Maloney overshadowed Aiden McGeady this weekend as he turned out to be the main torment to St.Johnstone as the Hoops ran out 5-2 winners in a fairly entertaining match.
Tony Mowbray shuffled the pack again from the European loss bringing back Scott McDonald and Marc Antoine Fortune back to the striking roles and it was to be a decision that was to prove vital.
The home side started at a blistering pace and wanted to show their fans and perhaps any watching Arsenal scouts that the Celtic side that they defeated can still cause them problems.
Last week it was Aiden McGeady who was the star performer but this time it was the other wing wizard Shaun Maloney who stole the show with a great performance that left the Saints defence in a whirl as the pocket dynamo lead them a merry dance.
The Celtic fans had watched on as chances had not been taken in the early stages and the Saints too had chances to cause a shock but when the opening goal did come in was through
a fantastic piece of wing play from Shaun Maloney who took the Saints defence apart with his speed down the left wing before playing a great ball accross for Fortune to place the ball into the net with his first Celtic goal and the weight would now hopefully lift from his shoulders.
Celtic were in full flow now and their attacking style of play was what these supporters had been promised by the new manager and that is what they were going to get.
Soon after creating the opening goal Maloney was on the scoresheet himself with a headed goal from a great ball in from Andreas Hinkel and now the team were growing in confidence with each pass and each attack but Celtic being Celtic you just knew that Gary Caldwell moment was coming and it did!
Caldwell was short with a header and before he or any of the other Celtic defenders could do anything about it,Collin Samuel had latched on to the loose ball and hit a screamer from just outside the box into the Celtic net to send the Saints fans wild and would give them something to cheer about just before half time.
Whatever the manager said to the team at half-time in the home dressing room,it seemed to work as man of the moment wasted no time in restoring Celtic's two goal lead as Shaun Maloney hit a great shot from outside the box past Main to make it 3-1 for Celtic.
No sooner had the third goal hit the back of the Sants net than Mr Main was again picking the ball out of the net as Aiden McGeady this time set up Fortune who scored from inside the box and now the pressure was off the Celtic hit man and if the truth be told he should have walked away with the match ball as he rolled an easy chance by the post but hey,two goals big man and off the mark for the season,not all that bad two league matches in!
With 13 mins to go Scott McDonald headed in a Daniel Fox cross for number five to put him alongside Aiden McGeady,Shaun Maloney,Marc Antoine Fortune who have all scored two goals each already in the league.
But that was not the end of the scoring as once again the Celtic defence looked to be sleeping as a Chris Millar ball through allowed Jody Morris to twist past two Celtic defenders and poke the ball beyond Artur Boruc to make it 5-2 for Celtic.
Hopefully this attacking performance will give Tony Mowbray's men confidence going into next Wenesday's match against Arsenal who themselves had a 4-1 win over Portsmouth.