Saturday 18th August, 2018 at 4:51pm
Three weeks after the end of the competition’s group stages, the Betfred Cup returned early this afternoon as Celtic came to Maryhill to take on Partick Thistle. The Jags came into the game off the back of consecutive wins against Falkirk and Stranraer, looking to continue their momentum by progressing into the quarter-final stages, however, it wasn’t to be for the men in red and yellow. They fell behind within 20 minutes as Leigh Griffiths found the net during the first half. With 17 minutes left, Andréa Mbuyi-Mutombo equalised for Thistle as he grabbed his second in his first week at the club, linking up with Aidan Fitzpatrick once again. Despite that, two Celtic goals in the final 15 minutes meant the Hoops came away with the victory, although the Jags had no need to be embarrassed after a very spirited display. Thistle boss, Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the final whistle.
Archie began by saying he was very proud of his young side today who gave Celtic a really good test as they looked to make cup progress.
“The guys can be happy with how they played. For 70 minutes we matched them as a team and individually. The shape was good, the effort was terrific and some of the individual performances were really pleasing. I think James Penrice was very assured in the midfield, Blair Spittal showed a real desire and there were plenty of others who performed admirably.”
He was slightly disappointed that his side let the game slip away after having equalised but said that the depth of the Celtic squad gave them a huge advantage in the closing stages.
“We’re still light on numbers and we know that. We are very much still looking to bring in a few names as everyone knows and we’ve got a few missing through injury which just limits our options. Obviously, young Aidan Fitzpatrick does brilliantly off the bench but you look at the level of player that Celtic can bring on in the last 20 minutes and that’s really tough to counteract.”
Alan expanded on his praise for Thistle number 21, Aidan Fitzpatrick as the 17-year old made it three goals and two assists in six games for the season.
“Aidan’s an extremely talented lad and we have big hopes for him. He’s got that natural instinct to attack which showed in the goal. It’s been a great week for him but it’s just about managing expectations and not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We had plenty of quality young players on show today which bodes well for the season ahead.”
The gaffer ended by reiterating how important it is that the hunger and desire from today’s game carries over into Championship games.
“It’s all well and good to perform on the television, in front of a big crowd, against the country’s best team but we have to apply ourselves in the same way each week when playing league games. Next Saturday we go to Tannadice for a really tough game against Dundee United and if we can play like we did today against them then we’ll be in with a great chance.”
The Jags now look forward to a clash with Dundee United as they return to league action next Saturday. Kick-off is 15:00 at Tannadice in the Ladbrokes Championship.
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