LEIGH GRIFFITHS - with fingers in his ears - may be ignoring the noise, but there’s no ignoring Celtic’s number nine.

Neil Lennon had given advance notice of his intention to present Griffiths an opportunity to impress against Partick Thistle at Firhill, and while he also stated prior to the game that his forward had nothing to prove, he set about his business in a way that suggested he thought otherwise.

Not only did Griffiths bag his first goal since August with a well-taken finish early in the game, but he attacked this assignment with a relish that few others on the night matched.

In the end, that Griffiths strike 12 minutes in and a Callum McGregor rocket with 12 minutes to go put the cup holders through, though a late Stuart Bannigan penalty for Thistle after Jeremie Frimpong was adjudged to have fouled Dario Zanatta gave a slightly generous impression of the contest for the hosts.

There wasn’t much of a difference between the sides on the scoresheet, but to the naked eye, the win that took Celtic into the fifth round of the Scottish Cup – and notched up their 32nd consecutive win in cup competitions - was more comfortable than their eventual cushion suggested.

In the end, both managers were probably happy with their lot, with Celtic boss Lennon seeing his men ease back into action with a dominant display, while the dogged defending from the hosts that kept the scoreline respectable a crumb of comfort for Thistle boss Ian McCall.

The pattern of the match was set from kick-off, with Thistle dropping off and Celtic dominating the ball almost entirely.

There was a sniff of an early chance for the home side though as Nir Bitton played the ball out to receive treatment for an injury, only for Reece Cole to immediately launch the ball down the wing for Zak Rudden to chase, Bitton himself hurtling back despite his impediment to bundle behind.

The Israeli was subsequently forced from the action, with Jozo Simunovic coming out of cold storage to replace him at centre-back.

Celtic then went on the attack, with Greg Taylor feeding the ball inside for Olivier Ntcham to then help on to the impressive Tom Rogic inside the area. James Penrice covered back inside for the Jags from left-back, but the toe he got on the ball only laid it on a plate for Griffiths to stroke past Scott Fox.

Griffiths then showed good vision to play a reverse pass into strike partner Odsonne Edouard inside the box, but Tam O’Ware got back to block the Frenchman’s effort behind.

Thistle had new boys Darian MacKinnon and Rudden in the side for their debuts, but it was hard to gauge how effective they may be in the long run for the Jags given that they barely had a sniff of the ball. Rudden showed a willingness to run the channels, but he was feeding off morsels rather than scraps.

Celtic continued to pour forward and Griffiths showed good athleticism to get up and meet a looping cross that was held by Fox, while Edouard went close as his 25-yard free-kick brushed the side-netting.

The Celtic supporters that occupied two-thirds of the ground were screaming for a penalty when Penrice seemed to push over Jeremie Frimpong as he made for the byline, but referee Alan Muir was unmoved.

From nothing, Thistle could and should have had the equaliser in the last knockings of the half, as a mix-up between Scott Brown and Simunovic presented the ball to Rudden.

The forward charged down the right before lifting his head and picking out Kenny Miller arriving at the back post, but he somehow contrived to smack his sliding finish off the post rather than into the net.

Celtic assumed control again after the break, though McGregor’s sidefoot effort after an hour that snuck the wrong side of the post was the first clear opening they managed to fashion.

While there was still only the single goal in it, Thistle still had an outside chance of sneaking an equaliser, but spaces started to appear for Celtic as the hosts got a little more adventurous.

Edouard smacked a shot from the edge of the box that Fox tipped onto the bar and over, and from the corner, Celtic eventually killed off the Jags.

The ball made its way to the edge of the area where McGregor unleashed a low left-foot shot that took a touch off a Thistle knee and arrowed into Fox’s bottom left-hand corner.

Griffiths then took his leave to be replaced by new signing Patryk Klimala, who tried hard to impress in the 10 minutes or so that he got on the park, and we even got a sighting of the lesser-spotted Daniel Arzani before the end.

In injury-time, Zanatta raced clear and rounded Fraser Forster, only for Frimpong to get back and challenge the attacker as he looked to apply the finish. Referee Muir said penalty, much to Celtic’s annoyance, and Bannigan stroked home with what was almost the last kick.