Thompson shines again as Celtic clinch record

Partick Thistle 1 Celtic 4
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Celtic put another footnote into the record books yesterday, as Alan Thompson and Chris Sutton made up for their inability to break into the England set-up by securing a more lasting piece of fame.

The England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, will apparently be at Parkhead on Thursday night to watch the pair - whom he overlooked last week for the squad that played Portugal - in action in the Uefa Cup third-round tie against FK Teplice, but neither Sutton nor Thompson is holding his breath.

Sutton scored twice as Celtic chalked up their 24th successive win in the Scottish Premier League this season against Partick- overhauling the record set by Morton in 1964 - to establish a benchmark that has never been bettered in European football.

Thompson set up three of the goals, and on hearing that Eriksson would make the trip to Glasgow, he replied: "That's up to him - all I want to do now is concentrate on doing my job for Celtic."

Sutton, the main beneficiary of Thompson's service this season, made the breakthrough in the 35th minute yesterday after Celtic had passed up a trio of good chances. Thompson's free-kick was met at the back post by Henrik Larsson and cushioned into the path of Sutton to head past the goalkeeper, Kenny Arthur.

Just three minutes later, Stanislav Varga doubled the advantage when he met yet another inswinging Thompson free-kick and steered a header beyond Arthur.

The game seemed dead and buried when Sutton made it 3-0 with a penalty in the 52nd minute after Kenny Milne had brought down John Kennedy, but Partick pulled one back through Gerry Britton three minutes later.

The former Celtic striker Jorge Cadete, who has just signed a short-term contract at Firhill, came on as a substitute to pose his old club problems, but Varga scored from another Thompson corner to seal the record-breaking day that leaves Rangers 13 points in Celtic's wake.

Goals: Sutton (35) 0-1; Varga (38) 0-2; Sutton pen (52) 0-3; Britton (55) 1-3; Varga (81) 1-4.

Partick Thistle (4-4-2): Arthur; B Gibson, Murray, Madaschi, Ross; Mitchell (A Gibson, 53), Rowson, McBride (Cadete, 68), Milne; Britton (Bonnes, 79), Grady. Substitutes not used: Langfield (gk), Chiarini.

Celtic (4-4-2): Douglas; Kennedy, Balde, Varga, McNamara; Petrov, Lennon (Lambert, 84), Pearson (Maloney, 75), Thompson; Larsson, Sutton (Sylla, 84). Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Valgaeren.

Referee: K Clark.

Booked: Partick: Milne. Celtic: Lennon.

Man of the match: Thompson.

Attendance: 8,131.