St Johnstone must be sick of the sight of Celtic.
It’s nothing personal. It is just that, in what has otherwise been an excellent season for Saints, they have suffered badly at the hands of the Hoops.
Indeed, this latest defeat in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round in Glasgow was the third dished out by the men in green and white in just 12 days.
The scoreline in wins for the season also reads Celtic 5 St Johnstone 0, with 16 goals conceded and a big, fat zero scored.
This was an easy passage to the quarter-finals for Brendan Rodgers’ team, who scored through Scott Sinclair and Scott Brown in the first half, with James Forrest and hat-trick hero Sinclair again – and again – on target in the second.
Like Britain’ army of punters deprived of their trips to the track, Saints weren’t at the races.
Indeed, the hosts were two up after just nine minutes and the Perth men never looked like preventing a cup exit.
Saints had made three changes to the side that lost away to Hamilton in the league in midweek. There were no places for Ross Callachan, Michael O’Halloran or Tony Watt. Into the team came Murray Davidson, David Wotherspoon and Chris Kane.
Celtic had Forrest back from injury, while Jonny Hayes filled in at left-back.
Once the action started, it was pass, pass, pass by Celtic until they ripped the Saints’ defence wide open on just three minutes.
The foundation was laid out right by loan star Jeremy Toljan, who picked out Oli Burke with nice pass. He burst forward into box and when he didn’t shoot for goal himself the home fans groaned.
However, they were grinning when his cutback was slammed home by Sinclair from a very tight angle. St Johnstone goalie Zander Clark has been superb at times against Celtic but he was too easily beaten at his right-hand post this time.
It was the stuff of nightmares for the McDiarmid men, who had hoped to frustrate the hosts for as long as possible.
Spookily, it got even scarier for Saints on nine minutes when Parkhead captain Brown lashed an excellent shot past Clark from 25 yards.
Brown stood, puffed out his chest and drank in the adulation of the Celtic supporters after scoring his first goal in two years for his club.
It already looked like being a long afternoon for Tommy Wright’s men, who somehow had to find a way up the park.
Saints had to wait 31 minutes for their first attempt at goal but when it finally arrived it was a good one.
Richard Foster did well to pick out Kane with a cutback and the striker first-timed his shot from 15 yards, only for goalie Scott Bain to turn the ball around the post for a corner.
Four minutes later, Burke had another burst forward for Celtic but his ball back across the face of goal was hit too hard and no teammate could connect.
Despite having been outplayed, Saints had a couple of great chances just before the break to get back into the tie.
Firstly, a dangerous cross from Matty Kennedy was fired at Kane and the ball had to be deflected over his own bar by Brown.
From the resultant corner, Davidson looked poised to nod home but instead appeared to meet the ball with his shoulder rather than head, it deflected off Ryan Christie in front of goal and Brown again cleared.
St Johnstone made a switch at half-time, bringing on frontman Watt for midfielder Sean Goss, while Celtic brought on Kris Ajer for Jozo Simunovic at the back.
The second period was only seven minutes old, when the home team made it 3-0.
The scorer, of course, was Forrest, who loves banging them in against Saints. He was set up perfectly by Hayes before sliding an untidy shot past Clark.
Just two minutes later it was an extremely sore four.
The scorer had a generous teammate to thank yet again, with Burke brilliantly setting up Sinclair for a tap-in.
Christie should have grabbed a fifth for the home side on 56 minutes but headed over when it looked easier to burst the net.
Saints brought on Niall Keown for his debut on the hour and Callachan followed him on a little later. The latter replaced Davidson, who appeared to be limping after a clash with teammate Kane.
With 77 minutes on the clock, the visitors cooked up a long-range Wotherspoon strike from that didn’t bother Bain.
The champions weren’t finished and grabbed yet another goal via Sinclair two minutes from time, with the frontman finding the net again from close range after good play from Forrest and sub Odsonne Edouard.
Thereafter, Celtic saw the game out comfortably, denying the bruised and battered Saints any consolation whatsoever.
Celtic: Bain, Toljan, Simunovic (Ajer 46), Brown, Sinclair, Hayes, Christie (Edouard 63), Boyata, Burke (Weah 67), McGregor, Forrest. Subs not used: Gordon, Bitton, Lustig, Johnston.
St Johnstone: Clark, Tanser, Shaughnessy, Davidson (Callachan 67), Kane, Wotherspoon, Kerr, Foster, Craig, Goss (Watt 46), Kennedy (Keown 60). Subs not used: Bell, Alston, Swanson, O’Halloran.
Referee: Nick Walsh.