ORAN Kearney said he would have been tempted to walk his players off the pitch had goalkeeper Vaclav Hladky been unable to see out the remainder of last night’s match against Celtic.

The goalkeeper was so startled by a firecracker thrown in his direction by opposing fans after Ryan Christie’s clinching second goal in the 85th minute that he required attention before completing the remainder of the match. As St Mirren had used all three subs at that point, Kearney insisted he would have been left in a bit of a quandary had the Czech been unable to continue.

“Vaclav is okay,” said Kearney. “I had a brief chat with him but we’re just thankful that it wasn’t more sinister. But I was standing 50-60 yards away and it made me jump so I dread to think how loud it would have been for him.

The Gazette: Kearney feared for his keeper after firecracker incident Kearney feared for his keeper after firecracker incident

"I could only see what you could see so I thought he might have to come off, which wasn’t ideal. We’ll check him out in the morning.

"We’d used all our substitutes by then and it’s crazy to think we might have had to use an outfield player in goal as a result of that. You’d have been tempted to walk your team off the pitch...

“Are we at the stage where matches might be abandoned because of this? I hope not. We’ve lost tonight and the easy thing for me to do is to make a massive thing out of this and try to deflect from our position but it is a big deal and it needs to be addressed. The players have a duty of care when they go out there but it’s the same for the fans.”

A meeting against the champions sandwiched between the weekend victory against Dundee and next weekend’s meeting with Hamilton, the Paisley outfit surrendered no ground on the chasing pack and Kearney defended his decision to make six changes to the starting line-up.

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“When you find out the results afterwards, particularly with how tough our game was tonight, it is nice to know nothing has changed off the back of this,” he said. “The changes were with a view to tonight’s game.

"If you take your eye off a match with Celtic they will go to town on you. When you spend a lot of time without the ball energy is as important as anything and we got that tonight.”