Football/Soccer

Leigh Griffiths reminds Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers of his quality

 Griffiths celebrates scoring Celtic's third goal in their 4-1 win over Partick Thistle, the striker also notched up a brace of assists. Picture by PA
Ronnie Esplin

Ladbrokes Premiership: Partick Thistle 1 Celtic 4

CELTIC striker Leigh Griffiths is hopeful that his performance in last night’s 4-1 win over Partick Thistle at Firhill will provide a reminder to manager Brendan Rodgers of his value to the team.

It was only the striker’s ninth league appearance of the season, but he left Firhill with a goal, two assists and the sound of the travelling fans singing his name as Celtic extended their lead at the top of the table to 11 points.

Stuart Armstrong grabbed a brace for the Hoops while Callum McGregor added a fourth after Thistle’s Liam Lindsay had brought it back to 3-1.

“I think my season has been disappointing so far,” Griffiths said afterwards.

“I started well and then I got injured and fair play to Moussa [Dembele], he’s come in and done well and from then on in I’ve had little niggly injuries that have kept me out of the side.

“Tonight I have shown that I’m still here and I’m very much part of the plans.

“I set up two, I scored one myself so we need to see what the manager does Tuesday night (v Hamilton).”

Celtic are now 11 points clear of Glasgow rivals Rangers having played two games less, but Griffiths said it was important to not get carried away.

“The training has been great, anybody who comes into the side is expected to do a job,” he said. 

“We just take it one game at a time.

“It was a difficult game Tuesday night away to Man City and people might have thought we were a bit fatigued but tonight we showed what we’re all about.”

“We were running until the 90th minute, four goals away from home, can’t complain.”

For a game that Celtic were odds-on to win, Rodgers made three changes to the side which started against City.

Defender Cristian Gamboa, winger Gary Mackay-Steven and Griffiths came in for Jozo Simunovic, James Forrest and Dembele.

Thistle looked solid enough defensively in the early stages although in the 23rd minute Jags keeper Tomas Cerny had to make a fine save from Griffiths’ low drive.

Moments later, the Scotland attacker drove wide from 25 yards with an effort which was as unconvincing as the visitors’ play.

Chris Erskine’s angled-drive from 16 yards in the 33rd minute flashed past Craig Gordon’s far post before Cerny had to race outside his box to thwart Griffiths after he raced on to a Tom Rogic through ball.

However, Griffiths turned provider in the 39th minute when he got past right-back Ziggy Gordon and drove the ball across the six-yard box for Armstrong to slam into the net for his fifth of the season.

Armstrong’s second four minutes after the restart was a finish of real quality as he accepted a free-kick from Griffiths before curling a 
left-footed shot from 25 yards past Cerny and into the far corner.

The visiting fans were still celebrating when Griffiths took a pass from Rogic and rolled Adam Barton with some ease before lifting his shot high into the net.

When Lindsay looped a header from a Sean Welsh free-kick over Gordon, a comeback was hinted at and the Celtic fans in the 7609 crowd revealed some relief moments later when Welsh’s header was ruled offside.

Cerny then saved Griffiths’ close-range drive and Lindsay blocked a drive from Dembele, on for Roberts.

In the 81st minute left-back Emilio Izaguirre reached the bye-line before sitting his cross up for McGregor, to volley in number four and keep Celtic unbeaten in the league and inexorably on way to their sixth successive title.

Football/Soccer

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