Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou says Rangers’ results “make no difference” to him after his side saw off a stubborn St Mirren to stay top of the Scottish Premiership table.
After a frustrating first half, goals from Cameron Carter-Vickers and Callum McGregor broke down the visitors.
Nearest challengers Rangers remain within three points of the leaders after a 1-0 win at St Johnstone.
“I don’t care,” Postecoglou responded when asked about the Rangers score.
“What’s important is if we are winning games then we are in good shape. I wasn’t looking at the ladder when we were six points behind and I’m not looking at it now.”
The victory extends Celtic’s unbeaten league run to 23 games, while St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson – whose side drop to ninth – is still searching for his first points.
Postecoglou’s side dropped points at Hibernian on Sunday but were not punished as nearest challengers Rangers failed to narrow the gap.
To make sure their three-point advantage would remain intact, they would have to defeat a St Mirren side that made the trip to Parkhead as the last Scottish side to leave there with a victory.
The hosts started with the intensity and urgency their manager demands, but they failed to fashion any chances in the opening exchanges.
It was instead St Mirren who almost scored for them, with Charles Dunne slicing a clearance from a Jota cross off his own crossbar.
Jota again created the danger when another cross from the winger made its way to Abada, who stung the palms of Alnwick with a close-range effort.
St Mirren then showed they were capable of giving the leaders a scare as Curtis Main came close to getting his toe on the end of a dangerous ball from Richard Tait.
But the visitors were largely camped in their own half, with Celtic right-back Josip Juranovic lashing a strike from the edge of the area narrowly over and Jota forcing Alnwick high to his left to parry to safety.
As the half progressed, frustration mounted in the home support as every overhit pass and extra touch on the ball was met with a louder groan.
But there was a huge sigh of relief in the Celtic camp 10 minutes into the second period when Jota’s wide free-kick eventually fell to Carter-Vickers, who smashed a volley past a helpless Alnwick.
The Premiership leaders struggled to close out the game against a well-organised unit, but the points were sealed when Jota’s header was blocked before McGregor raced onto the ball and shot low into the bottom-right corner.
Man of the match – Matt O’Riley
What did we learn?
Following Sunday’s goalless draw at Easter Road, Postecoglou would have been fearing a repeat after a flat first half in front of goal.
The Australian’s side have certainly lost their zip in recent weeks and lack a central presence at the top end of the pitch without strikers Giorgos Giakoumakis and Kyogo Furuhashi.
But with just nine games to go, Postecoglou is simply chalking the fixtures off as he hunts down the Premiership title.
Hearts and Celtic were two tough assignments for Robinson in his first games in charge, but the St Mirren boss will take encouragement in the way his side frustrated Celtic for long spells.
With a trip to Ross County to come on Saturday before a home game against bottom side Dundee, Robinson will fancy his chances of picking up his first points.
What did they say?
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: “We dominated the ball and it’s hard when the opposition sits so deep. I thought we were solid. We stayed composed and did what we had to do to wear down the opposition.
“It’s how most teams set up against us and the important thing for us was not to get side-tracked by any anxiety. We’ve been unbelievable at home this year, the way we’ve controlled games.”
St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson: “It’s as comfortable I’ve felt out of possession at Celtic Park. But did we pass the ball well enough to get anything out the game? No, we didn’t.
“Ultimately it wasn’t good enough in the end. You have to be braver, we didn’t stay on the ball long enough.”
St Mirren go to Ross County on Saturday (15:00 GMT) before Celtic travel to Livingston the following day (12:00).
Player of the match
with an average of 7.74
Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers
Squad number88Player nameJuranovic
Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
Squad number4Player nameStarfelt
Squad number11Player nameAbada
Squad number38Player nameMaeda
Squad number33Player nameO’Riley
Squad number17Player nameJota
Squad number18Player nameRogic
Squad number15Player nameHart
Squad number49Player nameForrest
Squad number41Player nameHatate
Squad number77Player nameDembele
Squad number3Player nameTaylor
Squad number6Player nameBitton
Squad number21Player nameIdeguchi
Squad number1Player nameAlnwick
Squad number4Player nameShaughnessy
Squad number18Player nameDunne
Squad number2Player nameTait
Squad number5Player nameMcCarthy
Squad number3Player nameTanser
Squad number6Player namePower
Squad number13Player nameGogic
Squad number11Player nameKiltie
Squad number10Player nameMain
Squad number7Player nameJones
Squad number21Player nameGreive
Squad number22Player nameFraser
Squad number12Player nameHenderson
Squad number9Player nameBrophy
Squad number16Player nameErhahon
- 33O’RileySubstituted forBittonat 65′minutes
- 42McGregorBooked at 49minsSubstituted forIdeguchiat 87′minutes
- 41HatateSubstituted forRogicat 64′minutes
- 11AbadaSubstituted forForrestat 65′minutes
- 17Neves FilipeSubstituted forDembeleat 84′minutesBooked at 86mins
- 18DunneBooked at 45mins
- 3TanserBooked at 55minsSubstituted forFraserat 75′minutes
- 11KiltieSubstituted forBrophyat 64′minutes
- 6PowerSubstituted forErhahonat 79′minutes
- 7JonesSubstituted forHendersonat 75′minutes
- 10MainSubstituted forGreiveat 64′minutes
Match ends, Celtic 2, St. Mirren 0.
Second Half ends, Celtic 2, St. Mirren 0.
Attempt blocked. Alexandros Gogic (St. Mirren) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Daizen Maeda (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Tomas Rogic with a cross.
Substitution, Celtic. Yosuke Ideguchi replaces Callum McGregor.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Joe Shaughnessy.
Karamoko Dembele (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Karamoko Dembele (Celtic).
Alex Greive (St. Mirren) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Jay Henderson.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Alexandros Gogic.
Substitution, Celtic. Karamoko Dembele replaces Jota.
Attempt missed. Alexandros Gogic (St. Mirren) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jay Henderson with a cross.
Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).
Jay Henderson (St. Mirren) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Goal! Celtic 2, St. Mirren 0. Callum McGregor (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.
Attempt missed. Jota (Celtic) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Josip Juranovic with a cross.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Ethan Erhahon replaces Alan Power.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Marcus Fraser replaces Scott Tanser because of an injury.
Substitution, St. Mirren. Jay Henderson replaces Jordan Jones.