Partick Thistle 0-2 Celtic: First-half Firhill show pleases Ronny Deila

Mikael Lustig congratulates Celtic team-mate Tom Rogic on his goal
Mikael Lustig congratulates Celtic team-mate Tom Rogic on his goal

Ronny Deila enjoyed watching his Celtic players dominate against Partick Thistle in their but believes there is room for improvement.

"The first 35 minutes I think was some of the best we have played this season," he told BBC Radio Scotland.

"We moved the ball well, were very good defensively and we created chances.

"But we were a little bit sloppy. It was too easy and then we started doing things at a lower tempo and the teams became more equal."

Tom Rogic came in to Celtic's starting line-up for the injured Scott Brown, with Mikael Lustig wearing the captain's armband.

And the Australian showed speed of movement and thought to flick home the opening goal, a lead built upon by Kris Commons after the interval.

Deila, whose players progressed to the Champions League play-off round on Wednesday night in Baku, Azerbaijan, admitted his players looked "a bit tired" towards the end of the match but he put it down to selecting "some players who hadn't played 90 minutes for a long time".

Mathias Pogba makes his debut for Partick Thistle
Striker Mathias Pogba makes his debut for Partick Thistle

"They maybe had one chance at the end but we had good control of the game. We should have finished the game better," added the manager.

"[Rogic's goal] was nice, very good. You can see pieces coming together now.

"That's what I like, when people really understand what their task is. When they play people in in different situations we are very hard to stop."

With Leigh Griffiths testing goalkeeper Thistle goalkeeper Tomas Cerny with several shots, the Jags did well to limit Celtic to a 1-0 half-time lead.

And on another day Thistle might have been awarded a penalty right before the break when David Wilson knocked the ball off Lustig's arm in the Celtic box.

"It clearly touched my hand and I thought the referee was going to give a penalty," said the Swedish defender.

"I don't know the rules exactly; I was standing with my back to the ball. I think the referee must have seen it touch my hand and made a call."

Stuart Armstrong goes off after 20 minutes
Ronny Deila admitted it was the wrong decision to play Stuart Armstrong, who went off after 20 minutes with a slight groin injury

It would have been harsh on Lustig had referee John Beaton pointed to the spot but for Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald, he made the wrong decision.

"It's hard on the referees, there are probably too many grey areas with it," he said.

"For my part, I just think it was hand ball, it's a penalty now. That's the way they should make it, it would be easier to take.

"We've had a couple given against us like that and a couple not. It happens, we just need to take it on the chin and move on."

The penalty appeal aside, Archibald was dejected at his team's failure to test the visitors at Firhill.

"We didn't pressure Celtic enough. They probably played in second or third gear for long spells, which is disappointing," he continued.

"I know we've got a lot better than that. That was the disappointment today; our good players didn't play, didn't pass the ball well enough and we didn't give the fans anything to shout about and get them involved in the game."

On a brighter note for the Thistle boss, striker Mathias Pogba came on to make his debut and "gave us that threat in behind and the two centre-halves maybe knew they were in a game".

At the other end, 19-year-old Liam Lindsay and Jack Hendry, a year older, made their second appearance for the first team in central defence.

Archibald said: "It's a great 90 minutes for them against top-class opposition. They'll learn from that. They looked a bit nervous at times but now we know we can trust them."

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