A NEW YEAR – and the same old routine. Celtic had four games – three away from home – to confront when the season resumed on January 18 after the winter break. And they triumphed in the quartet of challenges.

First up was a Scottish Cup opener against Partick Thistle at Firhill which was a lot more comfortable than the final 2-1 scoreline might suggest. The holders were coasting with goals from comeback Bhoy Leigh Griffiths and Callum McGregor when referee Alan Muir awarded the Maryhill side a preposterous penalty-kick in the fading moments.

Jeremie Frimpong deserved a round of applause for a superb receovery tackle on Dario Zanetti to prevent a certain goal, but instead the match official, who had a good view of the incident, pointed to the spot and Jags skipper Stuart Banningan duly despatched a fine effort low beyond the diving Fraser Forster.

DOWN AND OUT…Jeremie Frimpong is left grounded following Alan Power’s wayward challenge. The game was held up for six minutes and referee Don Robertson explains to Scott Brown and his Celtic team-mates why the foul was not worthy of a card.

Teenage sensation Frimpong was involved in another flashpoint incident in the following game, a 3-1 Premiership win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, where he had to be stretchered off after a ferocious challenge from the home side’s midfielder Alan Power. Goals from Odsonne Edouard, Griffiths and Christopher Jullien settled the matter.

There was no such drama in the 3-0 triumph over Ross County in Glasgow when substitute Edouard came off the substitutes’ bench to rifle in two goals while McGregor stuck away a late penalty-kick. And the Hoops replicated the scoreline in Perth four days later with a first-half salvo that saw Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Griffiths on the mark.

CQN‘s top snappers were there to capture the action once more. Here is the pick of the pics.

WINTER WARMER…Neil Lennon is wrapped up to combat the conditions at Firhill.

BY THE LEFT…comeback striker Leigh Griffiths sidefoots in the opening goal against Partick Thistle.

EAR WE GO…Leigh Griffiths celebrates in an unusual fashion.

WHAM…Callum McGregor thunders in the second goal against the Jags.

WELCOME TO CELTIC…new Bhoy Patryk Klimala makes his Hoops debut.

BHOY RACER…Jeremie Frimpong gets back to clear from Dario Zanetti with ref Alan Muir getting a good view of the incident.

PENALTY…the match official points to the spot much to the bewilderment of Jeremie Frimpong.

NO CHANCE…Fraser Forster stretches his full length, but Stuart Banningan’s spot-kick is just out of reach.

NUMBER ONE…Odsonne Edouard fires the opener past Kilmarnock keeper Jan Koprivec.

NUMBER TWO…Leigh Griffiths evades the challenge of Alex Bruce to double the Hoops’ advantage.

NUMBER THREE…Christopher Jullien soars to bullet in an unstoppable header.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT…goalscorer Christopher Jullien takes centre stage at Rugby Park.

CRUNCH…Jeremie Frimpong is on the receiving end of an over-zealous challenge from Killie’s Alan Power.

THAT’S MY BHOY…Neil Lennon congratulates skipper Scott Brown at the end of another points-gathering exercise.

HIGHLAND FLING…Odsonne Edouard prepares to fire in the opening goal against stubborn Ross County at Parkhead.

NICE’N’EASY DOES IT…Odsonne Edouard scores No.2 with Christopher Jullien getting a close-up view.

ON THE SPOT…Callum McGregor calmly places the third goal in the Dingwall side’s net with a sweet penalty-kick.

OH, SO CLOSE…James Forrest watches an effort just slip past the far upright.

NUMBER ONE…Olivier Ntacham rises to power in the opener against St Johnstone in Perth.

NUMBER TWO…James Forrest leaves keeper Zander Clark helpless with a sizzling low drive.

NUMBER THREE…Leigh Griffiths celebrates after his superbly-taken drive had handed the Hoops a three-goal interval lead.

THE END GAME…Scott Brown and Callum McGregor applaud the fans at the conclusion of a well-merited success in Perth.

TOMORROW: The best in words and pics for January (Part Two)

Click Here for Comments >

About Author