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Match Report

Celtic v Partick Thistle – 20th December 2017

After securing their first win since late October against Motherwell last Wednesday, Partick Thistle slumped back to a loss at Dens Park as they suffered a 3-0 loss to Dundee. A week after their success against the Steelmen, the Jags looked to get back on track with a tricky trip to Parkhead to take on Celtic knowing an upset victory would see them rise off the foot of the league table.

Two changes were made to the side who fell to defeat in Dundee at the weekend. Conor Sammon dropped to the bench being replaced by Steven Lawless as the Jags reverted to a 4-2-3-1 set-up. Martin Woods also came out of the team, missing out on a place in the squad altogether due to a light knock. He was replaced by Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate who returned to the stadium where he made his first start for Partick Thistle’s first team.

As expected, the treble-defending hosts started quickly as they aimed to rectify their very own defeat from the weekend and they carved out the match’s first chance after 11 minutes. Stuart Armstrong’s free kick found the head of Kristoffer Ajer who had made a great run to lose his marker in the Jags area. Ajer tried to direct the ball goalwards but he ended up nodding it off his own shoulder and over the bar.

Kieran Tierney then saw a low drive from range saved and held by Tomas Cerny as the Bhoys continued to search for an opener.

Thistle had their first sight of goal 17 minutes in as Jordan Turnbull headed Blair Spittal corner in goal. The attempt was going straight in Craig Gordon’s arms but Scott Brown smashed it away from Gordon and danger.

The home side would find their breakthrough, however, as Stuart Armstrong broke the deadlock on 34 minutes. Thistle had defended brilliantly for the opening minutes of the match and were in the end undone by a bit of magic from Scotland international, Armstrong. The ex-Dundee United midfielder found a bit of space around the edge of the Jags area and unleashed an excellent shot, finding the top corner on his weaker left side.

Going into the break, the score was 1-0 and the Jags would have reason to feel hard done by as they’d limited the home side to very few even half chances and it took an exquisite shot from the edge of the box to beat the travelling Thistle backline.

Alan Archibald made his first change of the match 12 minutes into the second 45 as young Andrew McCarthy was withdrawn with Chris Erskine being introduced to the game.

Celtic almost doubled the deficit on the hour mark as Jordan Turnbull’s clearing header fell to Odsonne Edouard in the Thistle box. The Frenchman vollied on goal but Tomas Cerny made a smart save down to his left to turn the ball away. Thistle then made a second change of the evening as Kris Doolan replaced Miles Storey who had received little support all night.

Despite Edouard being denied by Tomas Cerny, Celtic would get lead-doubling goal through Kieran Tierney on 66 minutes. A smart and slick one-two between the left-back and Scott Sinclair got Tierney in behind the Jags’ rear-guard and he fired a powerful shot high beyond Cerny to make it 2-0.

Following the goal, Alan Archibald made his final personnel alteration of the night as Gary Fraser came on in place of Blair Spittal.

Leigh Griffiths had the final opportunity of the match as his right-footed shot was turned behind by Tomas Cerny after the striker nipped past Daniel Devine with just over ten minutes left of the regulation 90.

As such, the match would end with Celtic coming out on top by two goals to nil. The loss left the Jags still propping up the Ladbrokes Premiership table with Ross County two points ahead of the Maryhill men.

Alan Archibald and the Thistle squad now look towards the weekend’s clash with Hamilton Accies as the Jags look to haul themselves off the bottom of the table. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

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