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Celtic turn to Griffiths for inspiration

Partick Thistle 1-2 Celtic

By Ronnie Esplin

Leigh Griffiths came off the bench to spark Celtic into life as the Hoops came back from a goal down to beat Partick Thistle 2-1.

Former Derry City striker Conor Sammon, on loan from Hearts, gave the home side the lead from the spot in the 34th minute after defender Mikael Lustig had conceded the penalty.

Griffiths, fit again after an ankle knock, replaced the Swede for the start of the second-half and made all the difference.

Winger Scott Sinclair won and converted a penalty 10 minutes after the break before Griffiths scored the winner from close range in the 70th minute to take Brendan Rodgers' side 11 points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table.

Ulsterman Rodgers kept the same side from the weekend's 5-0 Scottish Cup win over Brechin City with returning Griffiths joining French striker Moussa Dembele, whom the Hoops manager admitted had been affected by speculation regarding his future, on the bench.

Baily Cargill, 22, who completed a loan move from Bournemouth until the end of the season, made his debut in the Thistle defence with right-back Mustapha Dumbuya starting his first competitive game for the Jags since April after recovering from a knee injury.

There was a sense of shock when the Maryhill men took the lead.

Lustig made a mess of an attempted clearance and when Miles Storey went past him and into the box he was impeded by the full-back, according to referee John Beaton who pointed to the spot, and Sammon sent Craig Gordon the wrong way with his spot-kick.

Griffiths' introduction brought an immediate increase in tempo.

The leveller was coming and it arrived when Dumbuya felled Sinclair inside the box for a much more obvious Celtic penalty award by Beaton and the winger picked himself up and slotted in the spot-kick.

Then Griffiths took a Scott Brown pass and dismissed Jags substitute Adam Barton, before poking the ball past Thistle keeper Tomas Cerny and over the line to seal the points.

PARTICK: Cerny, Dumbuya, Keown, Cargill, Penrice, Osman, Edwards, Spittal (Barton 56), McCarthy, Storey (Erskine 77), Sammon (Doolan 71)

Subs: Booth, Scully, McGinn, Nitriansky

Scorer: Sammon (34, pen)

CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig (Griffiths 45), Ajer, Boyata, Tierney, Brown, Ntcham, Forrest, McGregor, Sinclair (Simunovic 77), Edouard (Bitton 84)

Subs: Dembele, De Vries, Johnston, Kouassi

Scorers: Sinclair (55 pen), Griffiths (70)

Referee: John Beaton

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