Celtic, having been knocked out by AEK Athens from the Champions League, were low in confidence ahead of their trip to Firhill Stadium to lock horns with second-tier side Partick Thistle in the Scottish League Cup second round fixture. Brendan Rodgers, the Hoops boss, made significant alternations to the starting XI and despite not being at their best, the defending champions, managed to secure a much-needed 3-1 win on the road.
Below are the Celtic players rated in their 3-1 win versus Thistle.
Scott Bain: 6.5
Was handed a start over veteran Craig Gordon and the Scotsman made some routine saves before conceding one midway through the second half which he could have done little to deal with.
Cristian Gamboa: 8.5
The Costa Rican international has found his game-time extremely limited under Rodgers but left a huge impression this afternoon having altered the fate of the game with his overlapping runs down the right-hand flank, crosses and cut insides. His pin-point assists helped the Hoops score twice through Moussa Dembele and Tom Rogic.
Jack Hendry: 7
Struggled to deal with the pace and physicality of Andre Mbuyi-Mutombo at times but had a decent outing overall.
Kristoffer Ajer: 6.5
Missed out the return leg tie against AEK Athens through suspension. The Norwegian youngster, however, returned to action in place of Jozo Simunovic and despite failing to contain Mbuyi-Mutombo during Thistle’s equaliser, the defensive resilience was restored to some extent after consecutive calamitous outings.
Emilio Izaguirre: 7.5
Izaguirre, a fan favourite at Parkhead, left for Al Feiha last summer after years of attachment due to lack of regular minutes following Kieran Tierney’s rise to fame since Rodgers’ appointment. The Honduras international, however, returned to Celtic Park this summer and earned a start in place of Tierney versus Thistle. Izaguirre had an impressive outing with decent one-twos and overlapping runs but also performed his defensive duties when required.
Scott Brown: 7.5
The skipper played his usual physical game with a combative approach and kept winning the ball back to construct moves from deep in midfield.
Oliver Ntcham: 7
His driving runs often troubled the hosts, and the Frenchman saw his effort from outside the box denied by the woodwork in the closing seconds of the first half. Should have done better to stop Aiden Fitzpatrick’s run duringMbuyi-Mutombo’s equaliser and was replaced by Callum McGregor seconds after Moussa Dembele restored Celtic’s lead.
Michael Johnston: 6.5
Although his finishing could be improved, the youngster often troubled the hosts with his energetic runs, fast movements and shooting down the right flank. H was replaced by James Forrest midway through the second half.
Tom Rogic: 8
The Aussie international had a disappointing outing against the Greek champions but came back strongly this afternoon as he kept on creating chances and forced custodian Cameron Bell into making some crucial stops. His hard work finally paid off when he slotted home from Gamboa’s pass and sealed the game for the Bhoys.
Scott Sinclair: 7.5
His neat work from the byline created acres of space for Leigh Griffiths to slot home early into the game. Faded off late in the game but kept on troubling the Thistle defence from the left with his tricky runs and footwork.
Leigh Griffiths: 8
Failed to leave an impact this midweek but silenced his critics with an early goal and looked purposeful in and around the box while linking up with fellow attackers.
Moussa Dembele: 7.5
Made an instant impact as he restored the lead with a swift finish after picking up Gamboa’s cross from the right. Looked sharp with his movements which indeed would be a massive boost for Rodgers after successive disastrous outcomes.
James Forrest: 6.5
Made some decent runs down the flank since coming on in place of young Johnston.
Callum McGregor: 6.5
Was brought in to keep hold of possession to defend the lead.
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