Wednesday April 5th: Scottish Premiership; Celtic 1 (Sinclair 50) Partick Thistle 1 (Azeez 64)
A much changed Celtic side dropped points domestically for only the third time this season, being held 1-1 by Partick Thistle. Yet we still could have picked up three points but for Scott Sinclair missing a second-half penalty.
Celtic made five changes from the team which beat Hearts at the weekend to clinch the league title, with Sviatchenko, Gamboa, Kouassi Eboue - making his first full start, Izaguirre and Bitton all starting. Tom Rogic made a much-welcomed return to the bench for the first time since December. Before the game began, the Celtic players were given a guard of honour onto the pitch by their Thistle counterparts.
Unsurprisingly, the game was quite sluggish, as Celtic were always going to be disjointed with the league wrapped up and the unfamiliar starting line-up. We found it difficult to break down a well-organised Thistle team, with the only real chances being a Roberts shot which the Thistle goalie Cerny easily saved, and a dipping effort from Bitton which he almost spilled.
Completely out of character with the game, Celtic took the lead in the 50th minute, a reverse pass from Roberts put in Sinclair and he dinked his finish past Cerny and into the net.
The equaliser arrived in the 64th minute, Azeez given far too much space in the box to turn home a cross. Shortly afterwards, Sinclair was brought down in the box but his penalty was far too close to Cerny who saved well. Thistle had a chance to win the game when Azeez was put through on goal but Simunovic did well to put him off, and despite the introductions of Rogic and Armstrong the game ended 1-1.
The result was a fair one, as an in-form Thistle side played well. For the fringe players trying to break into Celtic's first team Gamboa played quite well, Kouassi Eboue looked raw but did ok, Izaguirre got into good positions but his final ball was poor and Sviatchenko was pretty shaky once again.
Of course, bigger even than the result was the return of Tom Rogic, making his first Celtic appearance in four months. He didn't do much when he got on but this was all about giving him game time, hopefully he will start against Kilmarnock on Saturday with a view to getting his fitness up in time for the Scottish Cup Semi-Final. I expect that the team on Saturday might have a much more familiar look to it.