Premiership title race will go to wire - Celtic's Gary Mackay-Steven

Leigh Griffiths (left) celebrates his opener for Celtic
Leigh Griffiths scored his 35th goal in his 43rd game this season

Celtic forward Gary Mackay-Steven believes the Scottish Premiership title race will go "to the wire" after the champions beat Partick to stay on top.

Leigh Griffiths' 35th goal of the season and a second from Callum McGregor put the visitors in command.

But a Sean Welsh penalty for Thistle with six minutes left made for a nervier finish than anticipated.

"It's never nice when you are hanging on like that but overall I felt we deserved the win," Mackay-Steven said.

"In the first half we created a lot and if we had taken a few more chances, we could have made it a little more comfortable for ourselves.

"But this is never an easy place to come and win, so it is a crucial three points for us.

"It is nice to get them on the board but we know how well Aberdeen are going. This league is going to go down to the wire. But if we look after ourselves, that is all we can do."

Celtic briefly extended their lead to four points, before Aberdeen closed the gap to one point again after beating Kilmarnock 2-1 later on Saturday.

'The boys are hungry - you could see that'

Manager Ronny Deila felt his side "should have killed the game much before" but was pleased with their overall display.

"It got a bit edgy in the end and their penalty seemed very easy to me but I don't care right now," he told BBC Scotland. "We won the game and that is the most important thing.

"I think we controlled it quite well so there were a lot of positives. We created a lot of chances and should have killed it at 3-0 before they scored.

"But we know we have got finishers in the team. We just have to keep on creating and have a lot of energy in the team. We won ball in a lot of good situations and hit them on the break and created a lot of chances.

"The boys are hungry - you could see that. I am very happy for the team - they performed well."

'We have four cup finals before the split'

Partick's Sean Welsh shields the ball from Celtic's Gary Mackay-Steven
Sean Welsh gave Partick late hope but Celtic withstood the pressure to prevail

It was a third successive defeat - against the top three sides in the league - in the space of eight days for Thistle, but manager Alan Archibald refused to use their punishing schedule as an excuse.

"I think it told mentally (rather than physically) after the second goal went in," he told BBC Scotland. "Then nobody wanted the ball as much as they did before.

"I felt the first half was pretty even and we had a couple of half-chances, but we lost a poor goal and that took the wind out of our sails a bit."

Partick, who remain eighth, six points above the relegation play-off place, now face matches against Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Dundee United - all below them in the table.

"We have got four cup finals before the split," Archibald added.

"If we can apply ourselves in the same manner as these last three games, we will take something from them but we can't have the defensive lapses we had today."

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