Scottish Premiership
CelticCeltic2Partick ThistlePartick Thistle0

Celtic 2-0 Partick Thistle

By Colin MoffatBBC Scotland at Celtic Park

Celtic maintained their lead at the top of the Premiership with a one-sided win at home to 10-man Partick Thistle.

Kris Commons converted a penalty just before the interval after James Craigen had been dismissed for a foul on Stuart Armstrong.

Stefan Johansen added a fine finish, running on to a John Guidetti flick.

The hosts spurned several opportunities to add to their lead but will be satisfied to remain seven points clear of nearest challengers Aberdeen.

With Scott Brown missing through suspension, Johansen captained the hosts and was a blur of industry in yet another impressive display.

The Norway international popped up all over the park, closing down opponents as well as prompting attacks and was unlucky not to add to his tally.

Thistle grafted hard in the face of wave after wave of attacks but lacked an out-ball to relieve the pressure and this loss leaves them just four points above the relegation play-off spot.

Stefan Johansen scores for Celtic against Partick Thistle
Skipper for the night Johansen netted his 12th of the season

Celtic hit the frame of the goal inside the first minute when Virgil Van Dijk diverted a low, driven delivery from Armstrong up on to the crossbar from six yards.

Moments later, Johansen cut through the visiting defence and it needed a fantastic sliding tackle from Conrad Balatoni to block the midfielder's shot.

Balatoni denied another certain goal when he beat Guidetti to the jump in front of an unguarded net.

And a hat-trick of heroics from the Jags defender was complete when he got in the way of a Gary Mackay-Steven strike inside the penalty box.

Partick Thistle have not scored against Celtic in four meetings this season but came close on 21 minutes when lone striker Kallum Higginbotham connected with a Steven Lawless cross from the left and his volley was smartly pushed away by Craig Gordon.

Commons fired a shot over from long range but Celtic chances were drying up in the face of obdurate resistance from the well-drilled visitors.

However, the Maryhill side's good work was undone on the stroke of half-time when Armstrong ran on to a lovely return pass from Guidetti and was hauled down by a stretching Craigen near the penalty spot.

James Craigen is consoled by Frederic Frans after being sent off
James Craigen is consoled by Frederic Frans after being sent off

The Jags midfielder was sent off and Commons smashed the ball low into the corner from the spot-kick.

Fox made a good sprawling save to keep out a fierce strike from Commons after the break and the depleted visitors were hanging in doggedly as Celtic lost focus for a spell.

But the home advantage was doubled when Guidetti provided a clever assist.

This time the burly Swede was picked out by Johansen and the Norwegian was rewarded with a neat flick back into his path, allowing him to lash the ball low into the corner.

Fox stuck out a foot to prevent substitute James Forrest's angled shot finding the net and Armstrong had an effort deflected over as more and more gaps appeared in the overworked Thistle defence.

The closing 10 minutes were full of flicks and tricks from the cruising hosts as another replacement, Leigh Griffiths, somehow stabbed the ball wide from close range and Fox managed to direct a chipped effort from Johansen over the top.

Despite being inactive for long periods, Gordon showed why he will rival Johansen for the end-of-season awards when he dived full-length to deny Gary Fraser.

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Gordon
  • 2MatthewsSubstituted forFisherat 66'minutes
  • 22Denayer
  • 5van Dijk
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 6Bitton
  • 25Johansen
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 15CommonsSubstituted forForrestat 66'minutes
  • 14Armstrong
  • 9GuidettiSubstituted forGriffithsat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Ambrose
  • 10Stokes
  • 24Zaluska
  • 28Griffiths
  • 41Fisher
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest

Partick Thistle

Formation 4-5-1

  • 1Fox
  • 2O'Donnell
  • 13Frans
  • 6Balatoni
  • 5Booth
  • 7CraigenBooked at 44mins
  • 8BanniganSubstituted forFraserat 77'minutes
  • 18Osman
  • 11LawlessSubstituted forMcDaidat 58'minutes
  • 15Higginbotham
  • 10StevensonSubstituted forTaylorat 55'minutes

Substitutes

  • 12Gallacher
  • 21Richards-Everton
  • 22Fraser
  • 23Wilson
  • 28McDaid
  • 29Taylor
  • 30Keenan
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
43,784

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamPartick Thistle
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home18
Away5
Shots on Target
Home7
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away4
Fouls
Home6
Away8

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 2, Partick Thistle 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Partick Thistle 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Scott Fox.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  5. Post update

    Attempt saved. Gary Fraser (Partick Thistle) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  6. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Nir Bitton (Celtic) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Partick Thistle. Gary Fraser replaces Stuart Bannigan.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

  11. Post update

    Lyle Taylor (Partick Thistle) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces John Guidetti.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Stuart Bannigan.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Post update

    Darnell Fisher (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Bannigan (Partick Thistle).

  17. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  18. Post update

    Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Kallum Higginbotham (Partick Thistle).

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.