Saturday 19 January 2019

Ntcham helps Hoops to victory

Partick Thistle 0 Celtic 1

Celtic were far from their best but still too good for Partick Thistle in their 1-0 Ladbrokes Premiership win at Firhill.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 24th minute when midfielder Olivier Ntcham fired in a drive which took a deflection off skipper Scott Brown.

Celtic dominated for large spells as expected but found creating chances increasingly more difficult, giving the battling Jags hope all the way.

Thistle, skippered by Kris Doolan, were soon chasing the ball around the pitch as Celtic got quickly into their passing game. In the ninth minute Jags keeper Tomas Cerny made a decent save from James Forrest's drive on the turn inside the box.

The breakthrough came when winger Jonny Hayes' corner was cleared but only to Ntcham and the 21-year-old French midfielder, signed from Manchester City in the summer, fired it straight back in with the ball appearing to come off Brown before it ended up behind Cerny.

It was all too comfortable for the champion at that point and they came close to a second when Brown headed a Mikael Lustig cross on to the roof of the net.

Six minutes after the break Kieran Tierney robbed Steven Lawless and drove into the Thistle penalty area only to draw his shot wide of the far post, seconds before Doolan headed a Christie Elliott cross over the bar when he should have scored.

Storey replaced Doolan and before Chris Erskine came on for Lawless, Rodgers replaced McGregor and Hayes with Griffiths and Tom Rogic.

That double substitution energised the Parkhead men who would have made it two in the 70th minute had Callum Booth not headed Jozo Simunovic's header from a Griffiths corner off the line.

Thistle became emboldened in the nervy final stages which gave Celtic opportunities on the break but Cerny was largely untroubled further and there was a late and unsuccessful penalty shout by the home fans for a Bitton tackle on Storey.

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