Friday 15 December 2017

Celtic on title track with Patrick Thistle stroll

Commons spot on to put Hoops on way to victory

Celtic's Kris Commons (no15) celebrates his goal during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow
Celtic's Kris Commons (no15) celebrates his goal during the Scottish Premiership match at Celtic Park, Glasgow

CELTIC retained their seven-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership with an easy 2-0 win over 10-man Partick at Parkhead.

The home side lay siege to the Thistle defence at the start of the match but had to rely on a Kris Commons penalty a minute before the break to give them the lead.

Thistle midfielder James Craigen had been shown a straight red card by referee Willie Collum for a 'last man' foul on Hoops midfielder Stuart Armstrong to concede the spot-kick. leaving the visitors a player down for the second half.

Stefan Johansen added a second in the 63rd minute as the encounter turned into a Hoops procession.

With second-placed Aberdeen beating Inverness 1-0, Ronny Deila's side maintained the gap over the Dons but also have a game in hand as the title race draws closer to conclusion.

Celtic came close twice before two minutes had elapsed.

Parkhead defender Virgil van Dijk, up for a corner, flicked an Armstrong cross against the crossbar at the near post before a desperate blocking tackle by Maryhill defender Conrad Balatoni prevented an almost certain goal from Johansen's drive.

Balatoni again came to Thistle rescue in the ninth minute, beating Guidetti to a header in front of an empty goal, after left-back Emilio Izaguirre had troubled Fox after surging into the penalty area.

Moments later, Mackay-Steven was set up Johansen but his goalbound drive from 12 yards was deflected away by Thistle defender Callum Booth.

Yet, in the 21st minute, in a rare attack, the visitors almost snatched the lead but Higginbotham's spectacular volley from 14 yards was saved by Craig Gordon - but only on the stretch.

Commons' long-distance drive in the 28th minute just cleared the bar but a minute before the break he was more accurate from the spot, firing the penalty low into the corner giving the despairing Fox no chance.

Thistle continued to defend stoutly and desperately in equal measures but were undone again when Johansen took a clever Guidetti pass before rolling the ball into the corner of the net from 10 yards.

celtic 0 partick thistle 0

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