Date: 27th December 2013 at 12:21pm
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Virgil van Dijk scored a goal of the season contender as he waltzed through the St Johnstone defence to score the only goal of the game at McDermid Park.

Since getting over a shaky debut away to Shakhtar Karagandy the former Groningen defender has grown in stature game by game.

As well as displaying a sure touch in defence van Dijk has shown a great willingness to push forward and take a shot at goal.

Two headed goals away to Ross County served notice of the 22-year-old’s scoring intentions before he set off on a mazy run brushing aside half a dozen St Johnstone players before drilling a shot low past Saints keeper Alan Mannus.

“He has exceptional feet, he’s a great defender,” Neil Lennon said. “I’m not expecting him to do that all the time but he’s a brilliant player and has made us better.

“He lit up the game here. Virgil’s had a big part to play in our clean- sheet record and I think we would have dropped points here last year.

“He has added the physical presence and height we’ve been missing. He has been a good piece of business.”

With no sign of smoke bombs at the match the search for controversy found two incidents to focus on both involving Van Dijk.

Early in the second half Stevie May hit the deck in the Celtic penalty box as he tried to race across the Dutch defender but referee Craig Thomson ignored the incident as the home players appealed for a penalty.

Later on, in the closing minutes of the match, as he ushered the ball back to Fraser Forster, van Dijk felt the studs of St Johnstone substitute Chris Kane raking down his achilles.

As is normal in these circumstances Forster put the ball out of play to allow the defender to get treatment but what happened next certainly wasn’t normal.

Rather than return the ball to Forster St Johnstone attempted to  take advantage of the situation by mounting an attack to the anger of Neil Lennon who had earlier seen a perfectly good goal by Anthony Stokes disallowed by an offside flag given against Scott Brown.