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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 December, 2003, 22:01 GMT
Celtic ease past Partick
Partick Thistle 0-2 Celtic

Craig Beattie celebrates his goal with Momo Sylla
An under-strength Celtic strolled into the quarter-finals of the CIS Insurance Cup with a comfortable victory over managerless Partick at Firhill.

Teenage striker Craig Beattie illustrated just why Tottenham were chasing him in the summer with an impressive performance which was capped by a clinical first-half goal.

And Jamie Smith's second-half strike killed off Celtic's Glasgow neighbours to earn them a trip to Hibernian on 18 December - and a possible semi-final against Rangers.

Martin O'Neill's side were also boosted by the return of skipper Paul Lambert, who played 77 minutes to put himself into contention for a start against Lyon in next Wednesday's final Champions League Group A game.

Lambert had not played since injuring his ankle playing for Scotland in September.

Celtic might have appeared vulnerable when David Marshall, Stephen Crainey, Shaun Maloney and John Kennedy were named in the starting line-up.

KEY MOMENTS
31 mins: Beattie fires Celtic ahead
75 mins: Smith doubles the lead
84 mins: Beattie hits the bar

But their young stars started brightly, while the men from Firhill looked as though they were lost without the guidance of Gerry Collins after his sacking on Sunday.

Jean-Yves Anis had to head an in-swinging corner from Maloney off his line before the youngster curled a long-range free-kick over the crossbar in the fifth minute.

Partick eventually came to life in the 18th minute when James Grady flicked on Anis' cross but Kenny Milne blazed high over the crossbar from 15 yards.

Anis then picked up the ball midway in the Celtic half and tried an audacious effort which was deflected past the post by on-loan Sunderland star Michael Gray.

Celtic took the lead in the 31st minute when Momo Sylla fed 19-year-old Beattie inside the box and he coolly steered the ball home.

Beattie should have doubled his tally just two minutes later when Gray picked him out unmarked in the box, but he headed straight at the keeper.

Lambert's night came to a premature end in the 71st minute as Steve Guppy stepped in, but the midfielder had proved his fitness.

Sylla again turned provider four minutes later with a weighted through-ball to Smith, who hit a first-time shot beyond the outstretched hand of Kenny Arthur and into the bottom corner.

Beattie came within inches of scoring a wonder goal with six minutes remaining, but his brilliant right-foot curler came back off the crossbar.


Partick: Arthur, Anis, Lilley, Whyte, Murray, Milne, McBride (Howie 85), Andy Ross, Fleming (Taylor 82), Mitchell, Grady (Gemmell 77). Subs Not Used: Budinauckas, Madaschi.

Booked: Lilley.

Celtic: Marshall, Kennedy, Gray, McNamara (Laursen 78), Mjallby, Crainey, Smith, Lambert (Guppy 71), Maloney, Beattie, Sylla. Subs Not Used: Hedman, Miller, Varga.

Booked: Beattie.

Attendance: 5,700.

Referee: M McCurry (Scotland).






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