Celtic 1-0 Partick: Leigh Griffiths scores late winner
By Charlie McFaulds
Last Updated: 02/01/16 5:59pm
Leigh Griffiths scored a stoppage-time winner as Celtic beat Partick 1-0 in a Glasgow derby not short of talking points.
Celtic felt they had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the first half and they were left reeling after Nir Bitton was given a second yellow card on 68 minutes when he seemed to pull out of a challenge on Gary Miller.
But with the match seemingly heading for a scoreless draw, substitute Griffith kept his cool to net the goal which sends Celtic three points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership.
Thistle unsurprisingly started the match in a confident manner, having arrived at Celtic Park undefeated in their last six top flight games, winning four of them.
And Celtic were almost caught out when they failed to clear their lines at a set-piece and the return cross into the box from Steven Lawless dropped to David Amoo at the back post but Kieran Tierney got in a block to clear the danger.
Celtic responded when Stefan Johansen burst forward and slipped a pass to his left to Callum McGregor who crashed a low drive across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
Thistle were then almost caught by a counter-attack which ended with Tom Rogic dribbling across the front of the goalmouth before testing Tomas Cerny with a low drive from 25 yards.
The home side were lifted by that move and Mikael Lustig's persistence helped his win the ball on the right side of the Thistle box, allowing the full-back to set up Kris Commons, but Danny Seabourne blocked the midfielder's shot eight yards out.
Shortly before the break Liam Lindsay threw his body in front of a Rogic shot inside the box, but referee Stephen Finnie decided the Thistle defender had bot handled the ball much to the dismay of several Celtic players.
Nadir Ciftci had the ball in the net a minute later with a great finish from just inside the box as he latched on to a threaded Bitton pass, but the striker had strayed offside.
The game further opened up after the break and Callum Booth created an opening to hit a powerful shot from 25 yards but Celtic 'keeper Craig Gordon made a comfortable save, and later got down well to stop a low Kris Doolan drive.
Bitton was then given a second yellow card when he went for a bouncing ball and turned away from Miller, who bounced off the midfielder before the referee produced a yellow card and the Israeli international was off.
Celtic were aggrieved by the decision and took the game to Thistle with substitute James Forrest driving at the visitors defence before shooting low at Cerny.
Johansen later strode through the heart of the Partick defence and slipped a pass to Griffiths but the striker shot straight at the 'keeper.
Tierney then denied Thistle when Seaborne won a near post header at a corner and the Celtic defender headed the ball off the line with two minutes remaining.But as play entered stoppage-time Commons let fly from distance and when the ball deflected off a defender Griffiths pounced to side-foot his close range volley past Cerny to clinch the points.