Wednesday, January 1, 2014
PARTICK THISTLE 0
JOE Ledley netted Celtic´s first strike of 2014 and sealed all three points in a 1-0 win against Partick Thistle in the Ne´er Day Glasgow derby.
The Welshman struck six minutes from half time as the Hoops stretched their unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership to 19 games, and consecutive clean sheets to six.
And it took just 35 seconds for Celtic to create their first effort in front of goal. Teemu Pukki, one of two changes to the side which beat Inverness at the weekend, forced Scott Fox into a save as the keeper tipped it over for a corner.
Charlie Mulgrew was the other change from the trip to the Highlands as the Hoops looked to continue their unbeaten run into 2014.
Kris Commons produced two chances in quick succession, with his best effort coming from a free kick midway through the Thistle half. Fox did well to spot the movement of his low drive, though, and palmed the ball clear at the bottom corner.
The visitors worked their way into the match as the first half settled and searched for the opening goal which would bring Celtic´s run of five consecutive clean sheets to an end.
Stuart Bannigan unleashed a long range effort on 16 minutes but Fraser Forster punched it clear. Lyle Taylor, who was making his Jags debut wasn’t able to latch onto the rebound and break the deadlock.
Chris Elliot then came within inches for the Firhill side just before the half hour mark. His header from the back post was saved by Forster though, and the Englishman did well to send it skimming across the face of goal and inches wide of target.
Shortly after, Thistle threatened with three consecutive corners but it was the Hoops who opened the scoring six minutes from the break. Efe Ambrose squared up Ledley and the midfielder kept his effort low, firing it into the bottom corner.
The Scottish champions went into the break with the goal advantage and came out strongly in the second half. Mulgrew, who had moved into the left of midfield, came closest in the opening stages with a free-kick before having a goal chalked offside.
As the clock ticked over the hour mark Pukki unleashed a low effort from outside the box but Fox punched the danger clear. Commons was poaching but he wasn’t able to latch onto the rebound.
The Celtic manager made a double substitution on 67 minutes, introducing Anthony Stokes and Georgios Samaras as they searched for a second strike.
But it was Partick Thistle who came closest to finding the net after a quiet period. Stuart Bannigan crossed a corner in on 85 minutes but Adam Matthews was inches from the goal line and cleared the Jags´ effort to safety.
Celtic played out the remainder of the match maintaining their one goal advantage to remain in pole position at the top of the table.
CELTIC (4-4-2): Forster; Matthews, Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Commons (Biton 90), Brown, Mulgrew (Samaras 67), Ledley; Forrest, Pukki (Stokes 67)
Subs not used: Zaluska, Boerrigter, Balde, Fisher
PARTICK THISTLE (4-4-2): Fox; O´Donnell, Piccolo, Balatoni, Taylor-Sinclair; Elliot, Muirhead (Wilson 81), Bannigan, Higginbotham; Craigen, Taylor (Doolan 65)
Subs not used: Gallacher, Forbes, Lawless, Baird, Kerr
Website Man of the Match: Joe Ledley