Saturday, July 16, 2011
PARTICK THISTLE 2
(Cairney 14, Stewart 57)
A Celtic XI went down 2-1 to Partick Thistle at Firhill on Saturday, despite a confident display by Danny McGrain’s side.
Greig Spence’s equaliser on 20 minutes wasn’t enough for the Hoops to grab the glory, though, as Jackie McNamara’s Jags struck the killer blow just before the hour mark.
As the football made a much anticipated comeback to Scottish soil, the game was delayed 15 minutes to allow time for the Celtic support to get into the stadium. And filling almost two stands, they welcomed a mixed Hoops side, consisting of first-team players as well as a wealth of youth, onto the pitch.
It only took five minutes for the outstanding support to see a shot on target. Callum McGregor flicked the ball onto Greig Spence at the edge of the box and he had space to lob it over the crowded penalty area to Morten Rasmussen.
The striker tried to fire home with his first touch but former Celtic youth keeper Scott Fox pulled off a low save and Rasmussen wasn’t able to slot home the rebound.
Despite the good start however, it was the home side that opened the scoring against the run of play. Paul Cairney picked up a cut-back from Chris Erskine and slotted under Nick Feely from six-yards out to hand Thistle the lead on 14 minutes.
But Celtic didn’t let their heads drop and within six minutes Spence pulled them level. A good cross into the box by substitute Marcus Fraser, who had replaced the injured Jos Hooiveld nine minutes previous, was headed towards goal by Rasmussen. The shot lost momentum, but last season’s Youth Cup Final goal hero was at the far post to head it low into the net.
Rasmussen then forced Fox into an acrobatic save, with the keeper putting the ball over the bar on 25 minutes.
By the half hour mark the match had settled into an even contest, with both sides looking sharp, and Patrik Twardzik had a chance to give Celtic the lead.
He attempted to round Fox and dribble the ball past the Thistle keeper five minutes from the break. He was saved in the process, though, and Twardzik wasn’t able to pick out Spence, who had made space for himself, when he picked up the loose ball.
No changes were made at the break and the Hoops continued where they left off before half-time, looking hungry in the middle of the pitch.
They couldn’t make the difference in Thistle’s final third, though, and were punished for it in the 57th minute. Substitute Tommy Stewart unleashed a powerful drive from 20-yards out and slotted it into the top right corner, giving Feely no chance to block it.
With the Jags side in the lead, Filip Twardzik had a good chance to draw Celtic level again. He broke away from his marker on 62 minutes, racing in from the left wing but when he unleashed a long-range shot from outside the box he couldn’t keep the ball on target.
John Herron had an opportunity to head in from the far post after Filip Twardzik crossed in a corner before Feely was forced into a diving save five minutes from the end.
But Celtic’s lack of match sharpness was becoming more evident as the match drew to a close and Partick Thistle were gaining confidence from it. Despite bringing on Tony Watt and Bahrudin Atajic to strengthen the front-line, Celtic couldn’t find the crucial equaliser to salvage the friendly and the match ended in a disappointing defeat.
PARTICK THISTLE: (4-4-1-1) Fox; Paton (Campbell 60), Archiebald (Balatoni 46), Kinniburgh, Sinclair (Lindsay 68); Cairney (Stewart 27), Bannigan, Rowson, Flannigan (Burns 79); Erskine (Fraser 79); Doolan (Grehan 60)
Subs not used: Scully
CELTIC: (4-3-1-2) Feely; Toshney, Hooiveld (Fraser 11), Thompson, Izaguirre (Chalmers 58); Herron, McGregor, P Twardzik; F Twardzik (Atajic 78); Spence (Watt 63), Rasmussen
Subs not used: Thomson, George
Website man of the match: Marcus Fraser