LAST-GASP Leigh Griffiths rescued 10-man Celtic with a stoppage time winner against a stubborn Partick Thistle at Parkhead.9rmgztRCouzWLRFWI6U_JtKNOhC0ziKrux1uOIAgfFc
The second-half substitute for the ineffective Nadir Ciftci snapped up the opportunity after a shot from Kris Commons had been deflected into his path.
Griffiths didn’t hesitate as he thumped his 20th goal of a prolific campaign past the helpless Tomas Cerny.
Nir Bitton had already been banished following his second yellow card in the 67th minute for a moment of rashness in a challenge on an opponent. The Israeli international midfielder had been booked shortly beforehand for another foul.q_SOIf_MO64Ot5WDSc30-oKLJSqYqCm6_msC11MTH-E
It left his team-mates toiling against the Maryhill side who thought they were onto a winner with his red card. Manager Alan Archibald replaced defender Sean Welsh with striker Mathias Pogba in a bold move to go for three points in the east end of Glasgow.
And they came so close to succeeding when Callum McGregor hooked a header from Danny Seaborne off the line following a corner-kick in the 82nd minute.bpe0EwIH2kJBdm-OpnXHZC22kl3IHfj9zXG0H8v-Gog
It looked as though the game was heading for a goalless stalemate which would have been the Hoops’ third at home this season following draws against Hearts and Kilmarnock.
Thankfully, though, Griffiths came up with the winner to send the fans home happy. But this was a result mixed with exasperation and elation.F1YHDygSaVC0N6dOTuQLDlmNKlKKfRduBcLJfPFRTxQ
Ronny Deila had promised fireworks before the encounter, but, in truth, there were no pyrotechnics on display on this fairly drab occasion. It was more of a damp squib and the champions can be thankful for the lightning reflexes and killer instinct of Griffiths.
A lacklustre Celtic plodded through a dull, mundane first-half where they appeared incapable of raising the tempo against their Glasgow rivals.
It was uninspiring stuff and it took until the 11th minute before the home support stirred when Ciftci used his physique to hold off a defender, turn and fire in a shot which was deflected for a fruitless corner-kick.
The Hoops were failing to create and the Jags looked dangerous on the break as they proved when David Amoo got clear at the back post, but his effort was off target.UDHh8ywKBbGEZ-XOwrFBL8a92iD2nkO7JPER7mtPAb4
Steven Lawless then gave Craig Gordon a scare after a free-kick wasn’t cleared properly and he was allowed to rattled in a drive which swept wide of the upright.
The home side were stung to life and McGregor zipped a shot wide of Cerny, but, unfortunately, it was also crept past the post.
Just before the half-hour mark, Commons, in a central position, attempted a right-foot effort, but he, too, was frustrated when it hit a defender and bounced off target.
Celtic’s lack of threat was emphasised at one point just before the interval when Stefan Johansen got clear and sent over an inviting cross into the box, but there was no sign of a taker.
There was a claim for a penalty-kick, as well, when Kieran Tierney whipped over a cross from the left and Cerny made a mess of his attempted punched clearance. Mikeal Lustig had a shot cleared, it fell to Thomas Rogic and he blasted one goalwards, but it, too, was blocked. The players immediately cried for a spot-kick, but referee Stephen Feenie was having none of it and waved away the appeals.
There was little inspiration at the start of the second-half even with Griffiths replacing Ciftci. Deila’s outfit struggled to get into their stride against stuffy rivals who were only too happy to crowd their opponents all over the pitch.
There was a rare opening, though, when Johansen picked out Griffiths, but his shot was straight at Cerny. The fans groaned because on a day such as this, that was deemed an excellent opportunity.
After Bitton’s dismissal, Kris Doonan walloped in a dangerous effort, but Gordon was alert and dived swiftly to his left to push the ball round the post for a corner.
Celtic will no doubt be delighted with the win after losing to Motherwell in their last home game, but, on this performance, there is much work to be done before there are fireworks at Parkhead.
TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Ambrose, Simunovic, Tierney; Bitton, Johansen; Commons, Rogic (sub: Forrest 64), McGregor; Ciftci (sub: Griffiths 46).
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