CELTIC booked their place in the fifth round of the Scottish Cup with a by-the-numbers win over Partick Thistle in Maryhill. Leigh Griffiths’ early goal put the visitors in the driving seat early on before Callum McGregor’s deflected effort 10 minutes from time put the result beyond doubt.

Stuart Bannigan converted a penalty with virtually the last kick of the game after Jeremie Frimpong was adjudged to have brought down Dario Zanatta after the forward rounded Fraser Forster in the game’s dying embers, but in truth this was a contest where Neil Lennon’s side rarely had to get out of second gear.

Here are five talking points as Celtic played their first competitive match of the decade.



The acquisition of Patryck Klimala earlier in the week led some to believe that Griffiths’ time at Parkhead may be drawing to a close but off the back of this performance, those assertions look wide of the mark.

The manner in which he opened the scoring may have had a touch of good fortune about it – James Penrice’s tackle on Tom Rogic fell very generously for the 29-year-old – but the Griffiths took his chance with aplomb and has given Lennon food for thought over his future with the Scottish champions.

There were a few anxious moments when Griffiths went down holding his ankle halfway through the second half but he was back on the pitch shortly after receiving treatment on the sidelines and managed 80 minutes on the pitch for only the second time since July.



The former Kilmarnock man has found minutes hard to come by since sealing a switch from Rugby Park in the summer but the Scotland internationalist was industrious down the left flank at Firhill, frequently tormenting his opposite number Tommy Robson.

The 4-4-2 diamond formation that Neil Lennon opted for required Taylor and Jeremie Frimpong to provide the width for Celtic and while the former Man City youngster was somewhat stifled on the right, Taylor was a regular out ball on the left and constantly composed in possession.

Taylor will surely face sterner tests than he did on Saturday evening but with Boli Bolingoli not entirely convincing at left-back during his short time in a Celtic shirt so far, perhaps it is time Taylor was given an extended run in the team. The left-sided defender was a key player in Steve Clarke’s Killie side that finished third last season and he is starting to show why Celtic shelled out £3million to secure his services from the Ayrshire club.



The Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduate is one if the first names on the teamsheet in Maryhill and after an assured performance against the Cup holders, it isn’t difficult to see why.

Penrice was, paradoxically, one of Thistle’s best players on Saturday night despite committing a loose tackle that handed Celtic the lead early on and almost giving a penalty away after shoving Frimpong over in the box.

The left-back, who extended his Thistle contract at the start of the month, was solid in possession and did an admirable job of keeping the ever-industrious Frimpong relatively quiet on the right. Darian MacKinnon and Zak Rudden were brought in this month – with a few more players expected to join too – but perhaps Penrice’s new contract will be the best bit of business that Thistle do this season. The 21-year-old continues to go from strength to strength.



It was always going to be a big ask for the Jags to avoid defeat against a star-studded Celtic side but at 1-0 and on the stroke of half-time, Miller spurned a glorious opportunity to level the scores.

Rudden made the most of a mix-up between Scott Brown and Jozo Simunovic and burst through on goal before drilling a low cross towards Miller at the far post, but the 40-year-old forward somehow only hit the woodwork and Celtic went into the break with their one-goal lead intact.

It isn’t the first time this season that Miller has missed a gilt-edged chance and with Ian McCall on the lookout for new strikers, it could end up being his last. Rudden was bought from Rangers for a nominal fee last week and Thistle are believed to be close to finalising a deal for another striker – if the Thistle boss shakes things up and switches to his preferred 4-3-3 formation, Miller could find himself third in the pecking order if his form does not improve.



Celtic got their name in the hat for the next round, Griffiths got his goal and the home side gave a good account of themselves. An upset was always unlikely but Thistle will take solace from the bumper crowd that took in the action at Firhill.

Around 9,500 were in attendance for the cup tie – the vast majoirty of whom were in green-and-white - and according to McCall, the money raised from this single match could pay a player or two’s entire annual salary at Firhill. In the end, everyone got what they could have realistically hoped for from the tie and no-one will be too displeased at the final outcome.