St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright was delighted with Michael O’Halloran’s performance after restoring him to his team to play Celtic.
Rangers failed to follow up two unsuccessful bids made before the Perth side’s draw with Hamilton the previous weekend and O’Halloran was back in place to set up Steven MacLean’s 12th-minute equaliser with some good wing play and caused Celtic problems when he was put up front for the second half.
Wright, who revealed there had been no fresh bids from the Ibrox men for O’Halloran, said: “I was really pleased with his performance.
“He was excellent throughout the game and, when we put him up top, he was a threat as well.
“I didn’t have to speak to him because he’s been in good form all week.
“It was difficult the previous week because the speculation became an interest and that snowballed in the press, and he just wasn’t right mentally. But he certainly was this week.”
Wright added: “I’m pleased with how we played but we probably didn’t help ourselves by conceding just before half-time.
“The third goal killed the game but I think everyone in the stadium could see it was a free-kick clearly on Brian Easton.
“What compounds it is Mackay-Steven finishes it off. We created one or two opportunities but I thought Celtic were excellent.”
Celtic manager Ronny Deila praised Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong for coming through the first difficult spell of their Parkhead careers after the pair netted in the 3-1 victory over Saints.
Mackay-Steven hit his first two goals of the season either side of Armstrong’s volley as Celtic restored their six-point advantage over Aberdeen in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Mackay-Steven had made his first league start for three months during Tuesday’s 8-1 defeat of Hamilton and Deila has been pleased with how he and Armstrong have kicked on almost a year after joining from Dundee United.
“Gary has been out for a while and played two very good matches,” Deila said.
“Stuart looks very sharp so I’m very pleased with that.
“It’s tough here. We have many players who haven’t played for big clubs coming from smaller clubs.
“It’s one thing to come in when everything is positive and you are kicking on, but then the expectation is coming over you and it takes time to deal with that.
“When they get through that you play with more freedom. Hopefully now Gary has done it and Stuart is looking better.
“Callum McGregor had a little period out and has come back in again.
“To develop players takes times but if you work the right way you get your credit in the end.”
The pair kept James Forrest on the bench until the final stages but Deila revealed the club were making progress in contract talks with the Celtic academy graduate.
“We are talking with him and we want to keep James here,” Deila said.
“He’s a very good player and I think we have a lot to improve with him as well.
“I think he wants (a new contract), he loves Celtic and has been here for many years.
“He has trained for two months every session, I don’t think now he is going to pull a muscle like he did for four years before that. We have worked a lot with him but now he can really get out his potential.
“No-one can do that when you are in three games and out injured again.
“You need consistency. Jamesy has fought hard with his body, he has done a lot of hard work off the pitch and now we can really work on what happens on the pitch.”