Celtic v St Johnstone preview: Champions missing Scott Brown
Last Updated: 18/02/18 4:20pm
Celtic will be missing captain Scott Brown through suspension when they take on St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday.
However, the champions will head into the clash at Parkhead with confidence soaring after beating Zenit St Petersburg 1-0 in the first leg of their last-32 Europa League tie in Glasgow on Thursday night.
And defender Mikael Lustig believes Celtic can take as much confidence from the performance as the result, which came against a side who had not played a competitive game for over two months.
"When we are going forward we are flying and we create a lot of chances," said the Sweden right-back. "We kept the ball really good as well and were solid [defensively].
"Of course it is a good result, and to keep a clean sheet. But the performance probably gives us more confidence, especially the first half. I think we went straight at them and created a lot of chances and were really solid.
"We haven't been satisfied, we gave away a couple of cheap goals in the last couple of weeks so we are satisfied with a clean sheet.
"Everyone from Moussa Dembele down to Dorus de Vries helped a lot, we worked hard as a team, it was brilliant."
St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright, meanwhile, admits his side, who are sitting eighth in the table, are struggling for form.
"Last year we were criticised because we were an old team, but we are a younger squad this year and nobody seems to have picked up on that," he said.
"We have a lot going for us. We are in a sticky patch and things have to improve, but what has been said and written is a bit harsh on the players."
Brown will be missing for Celtic, but Australia midfielder Tom Rogic could get some game time after being on the bench for the last two games following his recovery from the knee injury which has kept him out for two months.
Nir Bitton could be out for the season with a knee problem and joins Dedryck Boyata (groin), Craig Gordon (knee), Leigh Griffiths (calf), Marvin Compper (calf strain), Jonny Hayes (broken leg), Anthony Ralston (knee), Stuart Armstrong (hernia operation) and Patrick Roberts (hamstring) on the sidelines.
As for the visitors, George Williams could make his debut and midfielder Liam Craig has returned to full fitness.
However, Keith Watson may not feature due to an ankle problem, while this game also comes too soon for Brian Easton after his comeback from a hernia operation.
And David McMillan and Callum Hendry are also long-term absentees, as is Stefan Scougall, who could miss the next two months of the campaign with an anke injury that may need surgery.
Celtic are unbeaten in their last six top-flight matches against St. Johnstone (W5 D1) and have scored in each of their previous 10 league matches against the Saints (29 goals; an average of 2.9 per game).
St Johnstone have won just one of their last 12 visits to Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership (D2 L9), a 1-0 victory back in March 2015.
Celtic remain unbeaten at Celtic Park in the Scottish Premiership since losing 2-1 to Motherwell back in December 2015 (P42 W34 D8 L0).
St Johnstone are without a win in their last six top-flight matches (D2 L4), the second time they have been on such a run this campaign (also winless in six between September and November; D1 L5).
Liam Craig has been directly involved in 32 per cent of St Johnstone's 22 league goals so far this season (three goals, four assists) - only Kilmarnock's Kris Boyd has been involved in a higher percentage of his side's goals in the Scottish top-flight (43 per cent - 11 goals, two assists).