Celtic set for intriguing Partick Thistle rematch next month

By David Walton

January 1, 2020

Not many Celtic fans will have been bursting out the confetti when we drew Partick Thistle in the Scottish Cup fourth-round.

You couldn’t blame us either. It wasn’t a home tie and it isn’t particularly an exciting one. Celtic will be sure-fire favourites to overwhelm the Jags and book our place in the fifth round of the competition.

However, the closer we get to the contest, the more intriguing it’s become.

Celtic mauled Partick Thistle at Parkhead back in September’s Betfred Cup match (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Celtic knocked Partick out of the Betfred Cup with a convincing 5-0 success at Parkhead in September. That would be McCall’s first game in charge. Yet, even though we should rack up a decent score if we turn up next month, don’t expect such a spiritless Thistle side this time around.

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McCall’s record sits at nine wins, 1 draw, and six defeats since then. It may read as though it’s been a mixed bag for them, but McCall had walked into a team who had won none of their opening four games in the Championship. Their trip to Parkhead couldn’t have come at a worse time for them.

An old rival will be looking to make his mark

Celtic are also set to come up against an old foe this time around in Kenny Miller. The former Rangers and one-time Parkhead striker has a fine record in games against us. Indeed, during his spells at Ibrox, Miller managed to bag 10 goals against us (Transfermarkt). He’s already netted nine times this term for the Jags, so he’ll be one to watch again.

He did play in the game at Parkhead too. However, away from home on the tighter Firhill pitch, he’ll likely be more in the game than he was in September.

Kenny Miller didn’t make an impact at Parkhead (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Another notable name from the Thistle side is former youth product Scott Fox. The goalkeeper is a former Youth Cup winner with Celtic, but has since played for the likes of Dundee, Ross County, and is now in his second spell at Partick.

It’s also worth remembering that they also have previously proven Premiership talents in Stuart Bannigan, Steven Saunders, and Gary Harkins respectively. We can’t just expect Partick to roll over, they have to be respected as we look to get back on track against them after our derby defeat. Thistle will also still have two games during our own winter break, so they’ll be hoping to catch us cold.

McCall has improved the mood around Firhill. They sit seven points off the playoff positison, and he’s slowly improving the mess left by Gary Caldwell before him. There’s a bond at that club just now that has to be respected ahead of our trip there.

Neil Lennon watched his Celtic team dominate Partick at the start of the season (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Their recent form has also been impressive too as they look to have turned a corner. They’ve won three of their last four, and are now eighth in the Championship as opposed to bottom.

Celtic are going to have to turn up to get a result here. And you can expect Lenny to be drilling that message into his players given Thistle’s recent renaissance. It’s vital we don’t expect them to be a team of strugglers next month – complacency like that is our main enemy.