Celtic strengthen grip at the top with win

Celtic captain Scott Brown makes his point clear to Partick Thistle's Aaron Muirhead. Picture: SNS
Celtic captain Scott Brown makes his point clear to Partick Thistle's Aaron Muirhead. Picture: SNS
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CELTIC made it eight wins in ten matches as a 2-1 win against Partick Thistle at Firhill extended their unbeaten league run, while St Johnstone climbed into the top half of the SPFL Premiership with a 2-0 win at home to Motherwell.

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras headed home the opener from a 34th-minute corner but, despite creating more chances, they were pegged back by Kris Doolan’s close-range strike 23 minutes from time. Partick were on level terms for less than ten minutes before substitute Amido Balde struck the winner to extend Celtic’s lead over Aberdeen at the top to six points with a game in hand.

Manager Neil Lennon said: “It was a great win. It was a difficult game under difficult conditions and circumstances and I felt we should have been two or three up by half-time with some good chances. I felt we didn’t start the second half particularly well, but we made a substitution and they scored. But our commitment was fantastic.”

Lennon was, however, concerned about an injury suffered by Emilio Izaguirre, who went down following a collision and was carried off on a stretcher deep into the second half with a serious-looking injury. “Emilio took a knock to the head so that’s very, very worrying. He can’t remember going for the shot and we had to very quickly remind him of it,” he said.

Samaras also received treatment on the pitch after sustaining a gash to his left knee following a collision, and Lennon added: “Sammy’s got a four-inch gash across his knee, he’s having some stitches put in now. Obviously that’s a worry.”

At McDiarmid Park meanwhile, St Johnstone secured a well-deserved 2-0 win against Motherwell. Stevie May converted from close range just after the interval before Faroe Islands goalkeeper Gunnar Nielson slipped trying to clear a back-pass and allowed Nigel Hasselbaink to curl into an unguarded net for the clinching goal.