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Match Report

Partick Thistle v Celtic – 23rd January 2018

Partick Thistle returned to Ladbrokes Premiership action after their winter break with a match against Scottish champions, Celtic at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. The Jags ended 2017 in good home form, winning five of their last six home matches of the year and would be looking to continue that positive record as the Hoops came to Maryhill.

Thistle lined up with a starting XI containing five changes from their Scottish Cup win against Queen of the South three days before. Tomas Cerny remained in goals but only one defender survived. Mustapha Dumbuya made his return to the pitch, having last played in April, replacing Paul McGinn. Baily Cargill, who signed for Partick Thistle earlier on the day of the match, came in for Adam Barton at left centre-half while Niall Keown retained his place as the second central defender in the back four. Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate, James Penrice made his first league appearance of the season as he replaced Callum Booth at left back. In the midfield, Abdul Osman captained the team alongside Ryan Edwards and Andrew McCarthy, who replaced Chris Erskine. Blair Spittal started on one wing with Miles Storey on the other, coming in for the injured Steven Lawless who missed out on a place in the squad completely. On form, Conor Sammon was the lone striker.

As one might expect, Celtic started the match in control with Olivier Ntcham, Dedryck Boyata and Odsonne Edouard all having sights of goal within the first 20 minutes. However, the Jags were able to carve out an opportunity on 22 minutes. Thistle turned possession over in the Celtic half and Blair Spittal carried the ball forward before feeding it to Miles Storey. The number 39 then quickly shifted into his right foot and curled an effort on goal which Craig Gordon had to turn over his bar.

From that point, Thistle improved. They were limiting Celtic to long-range efforts while also looking dangerous on the attack themselves and the Jags were rewarded for their effort on 33 minutes. Blair Spittal’s looped ball caused Mikael Lustig massive problems and the Swede defender saw the ball deflect off his leg into Miles Storey’s path in the box. Lustig then grabbed at Storey and John Beaton pointed to the spot awarding a rare Thistle penalty. With the only two men to have scored a penalty for us this season, Steven Lawless and Stuart Bannigan, not in the squad it was Conor Sammon who stepped up to take the spot kick. He is a man full of confidence at the moment and that shone through in his penalty as he calmly stroked it into the net sending Gordon the wrong way and giving Thistle the lead against Celtic for the first time in the Premiership era.

Celtic pushed for an equaliser before the break but couldn’t find one as the game went into half time at 1-0. Although, Celtic had seen much more of the ball than Thistle, their chance creation hasn’t been any better than their hosts. As such, the visitors made a half time switch as Leigh Griffiths came on for Mikael Lustig, signifying a more attacking approach to the second half for the Celts.

The away side’s intent was clear early on in the first half as Tomas Cerny was forced into two good saves within ten minutes of the restart. However, his efforts only kept Celtic at bay temporarily as they drew level in the 54th minute. Scott Sinclair cut inside from the Hoops’ left and drew the challenge of Mustapha Dumbuya who committed the foul and gave away a penalty. Possibly feeling a bit of ring rust, the Sierra Leone international gave the Bhoys a route back into the game that they wouldn’t waste. The man who won the spot kick took it and Scott Sinclair sent Tomas Cerny the wrong way from 12 yards, putting the game back on level terms.

Alan Archibald then made his first change of the evening as Blair Spittal came in for Adam Barton, who went straight into the middle of a back three. It seemed that the change was intended for before the penalty but couldn’t be made in time.

Despite having their back firmly against the wall, Thistle almost retook the lead a minute past the hour mark. James Penrice did some excellent work on the Jags’ left and got past two players before firing a low cross into the box. It found Ryan Edwards but because it was slightly behind the Australian, he wasn’t able to direct it home from close range.

With Celtic firmly in control at this point, it didn’t take too long for them to take the lead. With James Penrice caught out of position, the Hoops took advantage as a low cross found Leigh Griffiths. The substitute got slightly lucky with the bounce of the ball as he wriggled last Adam Barton but then finished expertly beyond Tomas Cerny.

The hosts made two changes in the ten minutes after the goal to try to re-energise the Thistle attack as Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan came on for Miles Storey and Conor Sammon but it was to no avail as the travelling Hoops saw out the game with Thistle losing out by the single goal.

Once again in Maryhill, Celtic edged out Thistle by the single goal but the result doesn’t change the Jags’ league standing with Ross County still three points behind the Maryhill men.

The squad now build towards Saturday’s meeting with St. Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. The Perthshire outfit still haven’t played competitively since 2017 and the Jags could make up some serious ground on the Saints with the victory. Kick-off is 15:00 from Perth.

PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Dumbuya, Keown, Cargill, Penrice, Osman, McCarthy, Edwards, Spittal (Barton, 55’), Storey (Erskine, 76’), Sammon (Doolan,69’).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, Booth, McGinn, Nitriansky.

CELTIC TEAM: Gordon, Lustig (Griffiths, HT), Boyata, Ajer, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, McGregor, Sinclair (Simunovic, 76’), Forrest, Edouard (Bitton, 83’).

UNUSED SUBS (CEL): de Vries, Dembele, Johnston, Kouassi.

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