Craig Levein reveals Celtic 'kick in the whatsits' as St Johnstone boss in need of glass of wine
St Johnstone manager Craig Levein likened two sparkling finishes from Celtic across the closing 25 minutes that wiped out his team’s one-goal advantage in their Perth skirmish to being booted in a particularly painful area.
Levein was philosophical over his team being caught on the counter to concede a 93rd-minute third through James Forrest as they then pushed for an equaliser. His stance attributable to his sense the game was then “done” courtesy of crashing drives from Callum McGregor and Matt O’Riley that cancelled out a 40th-minute opener claimed by Diallang Jaiyesimi. The quality of both goals appreciated by the former Scotland manager but no less sore as a result.
“Those two goals were actually like a kick in the whatsits,” Levien said. ““I was pleased with Diallang [in the central striker role]. I was pleased with a lot of things. But when you look at the scoreline, we have lost 3-1 and I’ll need a glass of wine tonight.”
His counterpart Brendan Rodgers was furious over the Perth hosts having “bullied” his team for stretches of the first half, but Levein had a rueful response to a tacit acknowledgement that St Johnstone were able to successfully execute a game plan to unsettle their visitors.
“I wish we’d bullied them for 90 minutes…They’re a good side and their movement is quite difficult to keep track of. We did it well. We played aggressively but we weren’t overly aggressive. And getting in front gave us something to protect. I was looking for us to win the ball, show a level of calmness, make two or three passes, get up the field and put their backline under pressure. There were enough of those moments, in the first half in particular.”