Hat-trick hero Moussa Dembele had no intention of leaving Celtic
Celtic striker scored three goals in the 5-2 SPL win over St Johnstone on Sunday
Celtic’s Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair celebrate Sunday’s win at McDiarmid Park. Photograph: PA
Moussa Dembele insists his focus was on fitness and not transfer speculation after returning to score a hat-trick in the 5-2 win at St Johnstone on Sunday afternoon.
The 20-year-old French striker was linked with a move to Chelsea in January but his well-publicised trip to London was simply to get a scan on a knee injury.
After missing two games Dembele came off the bench just before the hour mark with the visitors losing 2-1 and with his first touch he levelled with a controversial penalty.
The former Fulham player scored another two with Scott Sinclair also notching as Brendan Rodgers’ side extended their unbeaten domestic run to 29 games to go 27 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
Asked about the Chelsea rumours, Dembele said: “It’s easy not to get distracted.
“I’m a very calm kind of guy and I don’t really let this type of thing get in my head.
“I focus only on enjoying my football at Celtic and I’m very happy to be here.
“I don’t really listen to what has been said about me, I just try to get fit as quickly as possible and back on the pitch.”
It was Dembele’s penalty which dominated the post-match press conference.
The home side had gone into the break leading 2-1 after a Keith Watson header and an own goal by Dedryck Boyata had overturned an early opener from Liam Henderson.
Referee Craig Thomson gave Celtic the chance to equalise when he pointed to the spot after a Kieran Tierney cross struck Watson, albeit the ball seemed to hit the defender on the hip.
An angry St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright said: “There was three teams out there. I thought Celtic were excellent. I thought we were excellent.
“I thought the other team was poor and they let my players down.”
Rodgers sympathised with Wright and then claimed he had seen some “funny” decisions since he arrived in Scottish football in the summer.
He said: “It is a difficult job for them and I have seen it in a lot of the games.
“They are not full-time, it is not their professional job.
“They come into big games, particularly Celtic games, pressure games.
“I have seen a decision in the Rangers game after eight minutes which bamboozled me.
“The ball was kicked out by a Rangers player and we are away on goal and they get a throw-in. I don’t know how that worked. That’s pressure.
“They are good guys, they are all doing their best.”