Substitute Amido Balde cements Celtic’s place at top of Scottish Premiership

Georgios Samaras opened scoring in the 32nd minute with a header

Celtic’s Georgios Samaras heads home the opener against Partick Thistle.

Celtic’s Georgios Samaras heads home the opener against Partick Thistle.

Sun, Oct 27, 2013, 18:43

Substitute Amido Balde cemented Celtic’s place at the top of the Scottish Premiership by grabbing the winner in a 2-1 victory over Partick Thistle at Firhill yesterday.

Georgios Samaras opened the scoring in the 32nd minute with a header from an Emilio Izaguirre corner but Jags striker Kris Doolan levelled in the 65th minute from close range.

However, 10 minutes later Balde, on for Beram Kayal in the 66th minute, finished off a solo run by sliding the ball past Jags keeper Scott Fox to take the three points back to Glasgow and leave the Hoops unbeaten in the league this season.

Thistle showed commendable spirit all afternoon but are still looking for their first home league win of the season although their fans gave them a round of applause at the end in appreciation of their efforts in what was a decent game.

Celtic skipper Scott Brown returned from suspension to take over from Charlie Mulgrew, out with a heel injury, while Joe Ledley came in for James Forrest who was ruled out with an ankle complaint.

Meanwhile, St Johnstone moved into the top half of the Scottish Premiership with a 2-0 home victory as Motherwell squandered the opportunity to claim second spot.

Stevie May and Nigel Hasselbaink were both on the score sheet with second-half goals in the clash at McDiarmid Park in front of just 2,449 fans.

Paddy Cregg and Tom Scobbie were added to the St Johnstone starting line-up for the visit of Well, replacing the suspended Frazer Wright and the injured Steven MacLean. New signing Sanel Jahic was named on the bench after penning a short-term deal earlier in the week.

Motherwell also made two changes, with Bob McHugh and Paul Lawson added to the side, and Zaine Francis-Angol and Henri Anier both dropping to the bench.