Jim Goodwin believes his St Mirren side will take on a tougher Celtic team this evening than they might have faced last month.

Saints were scheduled to face Neil Lennon's charges last month but Boli Bolingoli's unsanctioned day-trip to Spain forced a postponement of the game. This allowed the Hoops to strengthen their side, bringing in the likes of Shane Duffy from Brighton, Albian Ajeti from West Ham and integrate new goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas into the squad.

St Mirren, meanwhile, find themselves in a much more difficult situation without their own number one goalkeeper in Jak Alnwick due to coronavirus and the fallout from chaos in Paisley in dealing with the diagnosis. Goodwin reckons his side have been dealt a bum hand with this evening's opponents in good form and in a better position than they were. But he insists he will do his best to ensure his players have the best chance of a favourable result in trying circumstances.

"I think we are probably weaker because we're missing out first choice goalkeeper, I think that's fair to say," the manager said. "And yes Celtic have definitely improved since the last time we were supposed to play, they've added Duffy and the goalkeeper. Ajeti has come in and one or two others, so those guys have now got a bit more fitness under their belts. But the Celtic team we would've faced without the new recruits would've been extremely difficult anyway, so we have to accept the situation we're in, it is what it is."

Goodwin was disappointed at having to face Hibs last weekend with no fit goalkeeper, forcing him into an emergency loan deal for Hearts' Zdenek Zlamal. A very different outcome than the one Celts faced when their left-back risked the whole Premiership season with his protocol blunder, where their match was rescheduled.

But the Irishman absolved the SPFL and understood it was a government decision. "We know this game should’ve been played previously," he added. "A decision was made and in fairness to the league that was taken away from them as it was the government who decided that.

“It is what is is. It’s one of those situations we find ourselves in. If you look back to when St Johnstone played Aberdeen I’m pretty sure Callum Davidson would have loved to have faced Aberdeen who were missing eight of their players. As it was the game was postponed and St Johnstone then had to face a pretty much full strength Aberdeen. That’s just the way it’s going to be.

“Of course we’d love to have our strongest XI available but that’s not the case.

"The SPFL didn't have the overriding decision in that matter i think it was Nicola Sturgeon who made the decision for them, so we can't accuse football of that one, we have to accept it and move on. It's a difficult game, but my players will go into it with the belief of causing an upset, we have to. Albeit we know how good a team Celtic are, they're full of internationals but we've got to get back to picking up positive results and hopefully that'll start tomorrow night."

Zlamal is still in the door at Paisley for this evening's game at the Simple Digital Arena and is likely to play having had more of an opportunity to bed himself into the squad. A chance he did not get when he joined on Saturday morning, four hours before kick-off. And while Goodwin hopes to draw a line under the issue between his club and the SPFL, he is still clear about future instances being handled differently by the governing body.

 “I can understand from the SPFL’s point of view they don’t want to be cancelling games every single week," he concluded. But there should have been a rule in place that if this kind of thing happened to the goalkeeping department then there has to be special dispensation."