Balde bags points for Hoops

Celtic moved six points clear at the top of the table after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle at Firhill.

Last Updated: 27/10/13 at 22:12 Post Comment

Georgios Samaras: Heads Celtic into an early lead against Partick Thistle

Georgios Samaras: Heads Celtic into an early lead against Partick Thistle

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Georgios Samaras headed the champions in front in the 33rd minute but Thistle were rewarded for a period of sustained pressure when Kris Doolan shot them level 23 minutes from time.

However, their celebrations were cut short when substitute Amido Balde made the most of an error from Sean Welsh to shoot beyond the excellent Scott Fox eight minutes later.

Fox, who had a three-year spell with the Hoops between 2007-2010, kept the visitors at bay with fine first-half saves from Teemu Pukki (twice) and the impressive Anthony Stokes.

But he was left with no chance when a completely unmarked Samaras headed home the opener - his 70th for the club - from a pinpoint Emilio Izaguirre corner.

And two minutes later central defender Virgil Van Dyk found himself similarly isolated in the box but his header sailed wide of Fox's goal.

After the break Celtic defender Efe Ambrose gifted the ball straight to Stuart Bannigan but the midfielder's 30-yard effort was easily dealt with by Fraser Forster.

And as Thistle continued to threaten, another error from Ambrose allowed wing-back Christie Elliott a sight of goal but a timely tackle from Izaguirre cleared the danger.

But the Jags soon found themselves level when Doolan, who had earlier rattled Forster's crossbar, poked the ball beyond the keeper's outstretched hands after fine work by Kallum Higginbotham.

Thistle were visibly buoyed by the goal and Higginbotham missed a chance to put them ahead shortly before the game's turning point.

With play bogged down in midfield and little danger to either side, Welsh was dispossessed by Izaguirre who quickly found Balde unmarked on the halfway line.

And the Portuguese striker strolled the length of the Thistle half before slotting the ball beyond the advancing Fox to secure all three points for the Hoops, who remained unbeaten for the first quarter of the campaign for the first time since Martin O'Neill's side in 2003-2004.

Izaguirre was later forced off with a head injury and Celtic, who had used all three substitutes, played out the closing stages with 10 men after Samaras left the field with a deep gash to his knee.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Sunday, 21 December 2014
12:15
Dundee U 2-1 Celtic Report
Saturday, 20 December 2014
15:00
Aberdeen 1-0 Kilmarnock Report
Partick 1-1 Dundee Report
Ross Co 0-1 Hamilton Report
St J'stone 1-0 Inverness Report
St Mirren 0-1 Motherwell Report
Sunday, 14 December 2014
13:00
Celtic 4-1 St Mirren Report
Saturday, 13 December 2014
15:00
Dundee U 0-2 Aberdeen Report
Hamilton 2-1 Dundee Report
Inverness 0-4 Partick Report

Footer 365

Sky Bet Championship: Sami Hyypia quits Brighton after six months in charge

Sami Hyypia has left Brighton after the club accepted his resignation as manager.

Rangers AGM: Members of board heckled at fiery AGM held at Ibrox Stadium

Rangers chairman David Somers struggled to make himself heard amid boos and heckles as he addressed the club's AGM.

England's Women postpone friendly with France following World Cup draw

England Women's April friendly against France has been postponed after both nations have been drawn in the same group for the 2015 FIFA World Cup.

Mail Box

Becoming A Proper Fan Again In 2014

Man United fans can thank David Moyes for making them appreciate their club again. We also have mails on Liverpool, Newcastle, another Christmas XI and more...

Wenger Has Made Arsenal Mentally Weak

We have plenty of reaction to yesterday's result, with Mailers sick of Wenger, Mertesacker and Skrtel in particular. Plus why it's not yet time for 'Austin for England'...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property