Celtic, Rangers

By Matt Farr

Football Insider analyses three main talking points from Celtic’s 1-0 victory over Partick Thistle on Tuesday night.

Celtic lucky to win

The difference between the two sides was profligacy. Both sides had a wealth of chances, but only one of them was up to the task of making them count. Scott Sinclair’s effort was the defining moment in what was a very uninspiring performance from the home side. Craig Gordon was kept very busy by Partick Thistle, and Celtic were very grateful for both his efforts and for Partick’s wastefulness in front of goal. Celtic themselves had countless opportunities to extend their lead, but they failed to take their chances. Brendan Rodgers made a lot of changes for the tie – eight in total – but there was a lot of quality within the ranks and the performance was very disappointing. The league leaders were far from their fluent best, and had they been up against anyone other than the league’s bottom-placed side, it could have been a whole different story for Brendan Rodgers’ men.

Miller has a bright future

The major talking point heading into the tie was Rodgers’ decision to include 18-year-old Calvin Miller. Traditionally a winger, Miller was deployed as a full-back against Partick Thistle, and played very well before being substituted for Emilio Izaguirre in the 63rd minute. The young defender put in plenty of hard work, and was often tested by Partick Thistle attacking duo Ade Azeez and Ziggy Gordon. However, he looked composed and assured throughout, as well as showcasing his traditionally attacking prowess in the final-third. He almost capped off the performance with a goal, only to be denied by Partick stopper Tomas Cerny. but it was still a day to remember for Miller. A victory and a clean sheet on debut will mean the world to him going forward, and he will no doubt go on to have a big future at Celtic. Rodgers has unearthed a gem.

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The Hoops juggernaut rolls on

Regardless of the performance, the result does not lie, and Celtic have yet another three points under their belt. The victory puts them 14 points clear of second-placed Rangers, and extends their unbeaten run to 21 domestic games. It seems almost impossible for any side in the Scottish Premiership to catch them and prevent them from lifting their sixth consecutive league title – although stranger things have happened. Just ask Leicester fans. However, even on days like today when things didn’t go perfectly for Celtic, they still found a way to win (and keep a clean-sheet), so side’s in the Scottish top-flight still appear to be at a loss as to how to knock the current league leaders off their stride. Next up for Celtic is a trip to Hamilton on Saturday.

In other Celtic news, John Hartson suggests how Brendan Rodgers’ side should line-up against Rangers.