Partick Thistle’s Scottish Cup journey is over after Celtic eventually beat them 2-1 at Firhill.
Leigh Griffiths opened the scoring for Celtic. The Jags were cut open at the back and Griffiths converted past Scott Fox after a relentless run of chances early on.
It was away side dominance after the deadlock was broken as they continued to plow forward with chance after chance. Only on rare occasion did Thistle see the Celtic half, with Kenny Miller’s speculative effort as close as they came to troubling Fraser Forster in the first 30 minutes.
They had a huge chance before the break as Miller’s effort at the backpost crashed off the upright. Thistle got into the break with a manageable scoreline regardless of that as they looked to build in the second half.
Fox made a big save to deny Christopher Julien early in the final 45. The Championship side were keeping the game at 1-0 though as they began to really frustrate Celtic. The game was over though after Callum McGregor’s deflected effort got past the unfortunate Fox, who had pulled off a stunning save moments before.
It wasn’t enough to earn a result though despite Stuart Bannigan’s late penalty and Thistle’s cup journey is over. It wasn’t for the lack of trying right enough and here are three things we learned.
Thistle brought in Zak Rudden from Rangers and Darian MacKinnon from Accies during the week. McCall opted to throw them in at the deep end, fielding both from the start against the Hoops.
It was a tough afternoon for both, especially MacKinnon. He hadn’t played much since August prior to this clash and was forced into doing a lot of running in the engine room as Celtic controlled possession.
Rudden did what he could alongside Miller but valiantly chased down every loose ball, something which was greatly appreciated by the Colin Weir stand as he went off.
Attacking prowess faced up well by Jags
McCall’s men were faced with the full brunt of Neil Lennon’s attacking arsenal. Two strikers were deployed with a CAM and two wingers.
It boxed Thistle in their own half and they couldn’t break out aside from the odd clearance up the park. It was death by a thousand cuts as the Jags battled to stay in the match.
To their credit they managed to do so. The opening stages were nervy for McCall and his men and a goal was conceded. But Thistle did a decent job of neutralising a strong attack, limiting them to only a few good chances.
Whilst there name isn’t in the fifth round draw, there’s plenty of positives from a Partick Thistle perspective. Defensively they held firm after an initial wave of openings, plus they created one or two good opportunities.
In midfield enough grass was covered so that the likes of Olivier Ntcham and Tom Rogic couldn’t fully express themselves. McCall’s full focus will be on the league now following their second Celtic encounter.
Implementing some of what they did against the holders next week against Arbroath and beyond will be more than enough for them to enjoy a good Championship run.