Tom Rogic makes scoring return as Celtic make it two from two
Australian striker returns to starting XI for first time in almost two years
Tom Rogic opens the scoring for Celtic in their Scottish Premiership clash against Partick Thistle at Firhill. Photograph: Graham Stuart/Action Images via Reuters/Livepic
Partick 0 Celtic 2
Tom Rogic scored on his first Celtic start for almost two years as Ronny Deila’s team claimed a 2-0 win over Partick at Firhill.
The Australian has not been named in a Hoops starting XI since former boss Neil Lennon’s side suffered a shock League Cup defeat to Morton in September 2013.
But the 22-year-old re-introduced himself to the club’s supporters with a stylish flick after 28 minutes, with Kris Commons putting the seal on three Premiership points with his first goal of the season.
However, it was another joyless afternoon for the Jags, who shipped 12 goals but failed to even muster one in reply in four meetings with the champions last season.
After a six-hour flight back from Azerbaijan following the successful Champions League qualifier with Qarabag, Deila opted to freshen up his line-up.
A hamstring issue kept skipper Scott Brown out, while frontman Nadir Ciftci was suspended. Gary Mackay-Steven, meanwhile, dropped to the substitutes’ bench as Rogic, Commons and Leigh Griffiths all started.
Thistle were without the banned Freddy Frans while David Amoo and Kris Doolan were benched as Stevie Lawless, David Wilson and Jack Hendry came in to Alan Archibald’s team. New signing Mathias Pogba – brother of Juventus star Paul – started on the bench.
Celtic, though, showed little sign of fatigue as they started brightly. Griffiths and Commons had decent early efforts while Virgil van Dijk was allowed to wander out from defence and smash a low drive off the base of post from 35 yards. Rogic then fired just wide as the visitors piled on the pressure.
Thistle had offered virtually nothing in attack and their lack of ambition was punished just before the half-hour mark when Celtic hit the front.
Jags right back Gary Miller failed to commit to a tackle on Emilio Izaguirre and substitute Callum McGregor – a 20th-minute replacement for the injured Stuart Armstrong – exploited the space he left in behind.
His low cross was stunned by Griffiths into the path of Rogic, who netted brilliantly with an instinctive finish.
Partick finally worked their way into opposition territory just before the break and screamed for a penalty as Callum Booth’s cross was stopped by Mikael Lustig’s hand, but the Swede was facing the wrong way and knew nothing about it.
Pogba was thrown on early in the second half, sparking a deafening cheer from the Firhill faithful.
But the burly Guinean international’s introduction failed to swing the momentum back Thistle’s way before Commons made it two after 62 minutes.
The forward darted in from the right to collect Nir Biton’s raking pass forward, turning Booth on his way into the box before clipping the ball over the advancing Tomas Cerny.
Pogba was denied a debut strike, though, when Van Dijk cleared before he could tap home Booth’s back-post cross, while he failed to finish from Amoo’s cut-back near the end.