Celtic ready for Partick Thistle threat

Celtic manager Ronny Deila
Celtic manager Ronny Deila

Following the long and tiring – but ultimately successful – midweek journey to Azerbaijan Celtic face another away game on Sunday afternoon, but one that is much shorter with the trip across Glasgow to face Partick Thistle in the club’s first away fixture of the Premiership campaign.

Any thoughts of the challenge awaiting Ronny Deila’s men in the final Champions League qualifier against Swedish side Malmo will have to be put on the back burner as the Parkhead men focus on solely on the immediate task in hand.

Nadir Ciftci remains unavailable due to a domestic suspension whilst Charlie Mulgrew, who missed so much of last season through injury, will be a last-minute decision having picked up a knock against Qarabag.

Nils Biton likewise has been suffering from an ankle problem and may be rested whilst the probability is that the Celtic boss will freshen up his squad to take account of the midweek exertions with Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest and Kris Commons all likely to feature.

Celtic faced the ‘Jags’ four times last season in League and League Cup – a 100% record being the outcome with four games yielding no fewer than twelve goals with none conceded.

Thistle however will go into this game heartened by their opening Premiership fixture at Hamilton when – despite being reduced to ten men in the first-half – a goalless draw was secured.

Anything they can grab from Sunday’s game will give the home side a major boost for the long campaign ahead.

Meanwhile speculation continues to circulate that Virgil Van Dijk’s Parkhead future is dependent on whether or not Celtic qualify for the Champions League with Southampton reportedly poised with a £7 million bid.

Whatever the outcome Celtic fans will expect new signings to arrive should Malmo be overcome in the next few weeks.