CELTIC 5 PARTICK THISTLE 0
VAKOUN ISSOUF BAYO scored his first goal for Celtic against Partick Thistle this evening – EIGHT months after joining the champions.
The Ivorian striker proved all good things come to those who wait when he headed in the opener in the Betfred League Cup quarter-final against the rock-bottom Championship outfit at Parkhead.
Neil Lennon’s men sauntered into the last four and a meeting with Hibs courtesy of further goals from Olivier Ntcham, with a double, a first of the season for Tom Rogic and a typical effort from substitute Scott Sinclair.
Bayo’s big moment arrived in the 14th minute following an inviting free-kick from Jonny Hayes. The ball was swung into the box and the powerhouse frontman rose to thump an effort wide of the helpless Scott Fox.
Amazingly, the energetic forward could have claimed a hat-trick in the opening 45 minutes of a one-sided encounter.
ACTION MAN…Vakoun Issouf Bayo got on the goal trail.
Seven minutes after his breakthrough strike, Rogic drifted in from the right to flight over a cross and Bayo met it once again with his head from close range. He should have hit the target, but his effort bounced down and ricocheted over the bar.
On the half-hour mark, the all-action frontman got in before the Firhill defence to another ball into the box, but, frustratingly, his header flew high over the bar.
The holders looked lively in the opening minutes and debut Bhoy Jeremie Frimpong was dovetailing well with Lewis Morgan on the right wing.
The Scotland international winger slipped in that man Bayo early on, but he was off target as he set the tone for the encounter.
Celtic were in control, but there was a scare just before the interval when Ntcham was sloppy in possession and the ball dropped for Kenny Miller.
The veteran set up Shea Gordon who thundered a shot at goal, but his namesake Craig, replacing Fraser Forster who was on the bench, was equal to the threat and made a solid save.
It acted as a wake-up call for the Hoops and the eager Morgan replied just before thr turnaround witth a low drive that had Fox scrambling, but whipped just wide of the post.
Forty seconds into the second-half and the Wizard of Oz Rogic, enjoying a rare start, doubled the Hoops’ advantage with his usual nonchalant finish.
STUNNER…Olivier Ntcham scored a memorable 30-yarder.
Bayo set up the Australian international and he made absolutely no mistake with an effort that zipped wide of the diving Fox.
A double strike from Ntcham wiped out any threats of a sensation in the east end of Glasgow when he ended the contest with expert finishes.
The first came in the 56th minute and is already a contender for Goal of the Season. Mohamed Elyounoussi set up the Frenchman with a neat pass and the midfielder simply pummelled a 30-yard drive high into the net for a breathtaking and memorable effort.
Seven minutes later Ntcham received a pass from Hayes and cut inside to wallop a low right-foot drive beyond Fox as it went in off the upright.
Neil Lennon put on Scott Brown and Sinclair for Callum McGregor and Elyounoussi around the same time as the Hoops coasted into the semi-final.
In the 76th minute, Sinclair, who was in danger of becoming the forgotten man of the eight-in-a-row champions, scored his first domestic goal of the campaign.
The Englishman, who last netted in the 3-1 win over FK Sarajevo in the Champions League qualifier in July, displayed composure as he rattled in a right-foot shot from close range after the ball had broken to him in the box.
In the 79th minute, Lennon introduced youngster Jack Hendry for the massively impressive Frimpong, who had collected a second-half booking, with the team in cruise control.
At full-time, it was job done for Celtic as they edged within two games of their tenth successive domestic trophy.
TEAM: Gordon; Frimpong (sub: Hendry 79), Elhamed, Ajer, Hayes; McGregor (sub: Brown 62), Ntcham; Morgan, Rogic, Elyounoussi (sub: Sinclair 66); Bayo.