Partick Thistle vs. Celtic
Friday 9th December
BT Sport 1
Following on from their exploits in the Champions League, Celtic once again turn their attention to domestic competition. On this occasion, they don’t have that far to travel as their opponents on Friday are their Glasgow rivals, Partick Thistle.
It would be fair to say that last week’s seven goal thriller against Motherwell ended up being a far tighter game than many would have predicted. And considering the fact that they’ve already had to play a match this week, I’m sure the manger and players will be hoping that Friday’s game isn’t quite as dramatic.
The main talking point for Celtic going in to the match, is who Brendan Rodgers will start up front. Moussa Dembele has been our first choice striker in recent months, but given the fact he’s been going through a bit of a rough patch lately, will the manager consider resting him for this game? If so, one would imagine that Leigh Griffiths would be the man to replace him in the starting XI. Griffiths has largely been consigned to the bench in recent times, with a brief cameo appearance in the League cup final and a fifteen minute run out on Tuesday, being his most recent appearances. For someone like Griffiths, this won’t be good enough. So, should he start on Friday, you can be certain that Griffiths will be doing everything he can to convince the manager that he’s deserving of more game time.
Could Leigh Griffiths be set for a return to the starting XI?
After pulling up with an injury and having to be subbed on Tuesday, James Forrest is unlikely to play a part in Friday’s proceedings. In all likelihood, the man that was brought on as his replacement, Gary Mackay-Steven, will step in to cover for Forrest. Tuesday marked Mackay-Steven’s first appearance for Celtic this season and, all things considered, gave a fairly good account of himself. We all known that Mackay-Steven can be exciting player on his day, so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs at Firhill (should he be given the nod).
The other notable absence on Friday will be Scott Sinclair, who is still recovering from his injury. Although, on a more positive note, according to Brendan Rodgers, Sinclair may be fit for next week’s game against Dundee.
Alan Archibald’s side have had a fairly rough time of it during the first half of their premiership campaign. The Jags have so far only managed to win three of their fifteen league games, leaving them languishing in 11th place – the relegation playoff spot. As such, every point is crucial for the Firhill side. Not only would a win against Celtic see them move up the table, but it may also prove crucial in their long-term survival. They have won their last two games, scoring two goals in each, and will be hoping that they can make it three in a row come Friday.
So what players will Thistle fans be hoping can help pull of this potential shock victory?
Is Kris Doolan the key to a potential Jags victory?
It hasn’t be a particular high scoring season for Thistle, having scored seventeen goals in the league, but the Scottish trio of Kris Doolan, Christopher Erskine & Liam Lindsay have all chipped in with three goals each. Doolan is the man on form, having scored two goals in the Jags last two games, and will undoubtedly be eager to make it three in three.
Regardless of form or past results, this is the toughest match of Thistle’s season so far and they’ll need to be at their very best if they have any hope of getting those crucial three points.