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Hoops show their strength in depth with crushing home defeat of Partick
Hoops ease into Betfred Cup semi-finals.
Celtic showed their strength in depth as they dismissed Partick Thistle 5-0 in their Betfred Cup quarter-final clash at Parkhead.
Ivorian striker Vakoun Issouf Bayo, one of eight changes made by Hoops boss Neil Lennon, opened the scoring for the holders with a close range header in the 15th minute and Ian McCall, in his first game in charge of the Maryhill men since returning to lead the team for a second time on Monday, watched Tom Rogic add a second within a minute of the restart.
Two goals in six minutes from fellow midfielder Olivier Ntcham and a strike in the 77th minute from substitute Scott Sinclair confirmed that the treble treble winners have the squad to continue their success this season.
McCall has a more winnable Ladbrokes Premiership game at the weekend against Inverness, where he will be looking to take the Jags – currently bottom – away from the danger area although he will have to get this runaround quickly out the system.
As expected, Lennon rang the changes with 18-year-old Dutch defender, Jeremie Frimpong, who joined the club on a four-year deal from Manchester City in the summer, in for his debut.
Rogic made his first start of the season, Mohamed Elyounoussi made his first home appearance while Craig Gordon, Jonny Hayes, Hatem Alb Elhamed, Lewis Morgan and Bayo were also reinstated.
Bayo, deprived of his first two goals for the Hoops against Hearts last month when they were chalked up as own goals, headed one chance over the bar before he proved much more accurate from Hayes’ free-kick, giving Jags goalkeeper Scott Fox no chance from six yards.
Bayo then bounced a header down and over the bar from Rogic’s inviting delivery before he nodded a Hayes cross over the bar from five yards out.
Gradually, however, the pressure subsided and Thistle edged forward.
In the 40th minute, after taking a pass from former Celtic and Rangers striker Kenny Miller, Shea Gordon’s powerful drive from the edge of the box was saved by his Celtic namesake in goal.
After that period of promise, the second half proved more than difficult for McCall’s side.
There were still fans returning to their seats after the break when Bayo took a pass from Ntcham and set up Rogic to side foot the ball into the net from 16 yards.
In the 52nd minute Thistle defender Thomas O’Ware had the ball in the net from a Stuart Bannigan free-kick but the offside flag went up, the Jags’ disappointment soon compounded when Ntcham thundered in a shot from 30 yards and more which flew past Fox and into the top corner.
The Frenchman’s second in the 63rd minute came when he used overlapping Hayes as a decoy before finding the far corner with a curling shot from the edge of the box.
To top off the night Sinclair, on for Elyounoussi to make a rare appearance, slammed in from 12 yards after Rogic’s effort had been blocked and there were more chances missed before the final whistle.