Celtic wary of Partick Thistle sting

25 October 2013 12:46

Celtic make the short trip to Firhill on Sunday for their first meeting this season with Partick Thistle, a side who have defied predictions that they would struggle in the top flight.

The Jags have made a strong start to their Scottish Premiership campaign and currently sit in seventh place.

Thistle will go into the match on a high after becoming the first team this season to beat second-placed Inverness at home.

However, Neil Lennon's Celtic top the table after an impressive run and remain unbeaten in the league so far.

Despite admitting he expects his side to be given a stern test by Partick, Irish striker Anthony Stokes says there is a strong resolve amongst the Celtic squad which was strengthen by their midweek Champions League win against Ajax.

"Any game in the SPFL is going to be difficult," said Stokes.

"Even the sides that have come up have a certain style and they can be difficult to break down, so we have to give them the utmost respect and go out and try and break them down.

"We fancy ourselves to win every game, though, and we will go out with that attitude and see what happens."

Stokes has netted five times in the league so far and the striker is keen to add to his tally on Sunday.

"I scored in the last game and the stats are looking alright this year," he added.

"I want to maintain that and score as many goals as I can throughout the season."

Celtic, who will be without Adam Matthews and Kris Commons through injury, will welcome back Scott Brown after suspension ruled him out of the Champions League match against Ajax in midweek.

Meanwhile, Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald has warned his players not to expect Celtic to be suffering from a European hangover on Sunday.

Celtic struggled domestically after their tough European encounters last season but the Thistle boss believes the Parkhead club have learned lessons from that experience.

"I am sure Celtic will make some changes this weekend and bring in a couple of players. They played Darnell Fisher, for example, against Hibs on Saturday," Archibald said.

"I know they came unstuck after a few of their Champions League games last season, but I don't think that will be a factor against us this weekend.

"Neil has said he wants his side to win every game they play this season in the SPFL Premiership, to go the entire campaign unbeaten.

"They have not lost in the league this season, despite playing in European qualifiers and group games.

"You can see the difference in them this season. Every game they have played in after a Champions League match they have been quite strong."

Elsewhere on Saturday, Kilmarnock host Hearts in a basement battle at Rugby Park.

Bottom club Hearts have lost five out of their past six matches and are 13 points from safety while second bottom Killie are on a high after their first win of the season against Ross County last weekend.

High-flying Hibernian could leapfrog Aberdeen into fourth if they can defeat Derek McInnes' side at Easter Road while Dundee United will try to get back to winning ways against St Mirren.

On Sunday, Motherwell, who have won five out of their past seven matches, make the trip to McDiarmid Park to take on St Johnstone.

Fixtures (1400GMT unless otherwise stated)


Ross County v Inverness Caledonian Thistle (1845)


Dundee Utd v St Mirren, Hibernian v Aberdeen, Kilmarnock v Hearts


Partick Thistle v Celtic (1245), St Johnstone v Motherwell (1605)

Source: AFP