Football - Lennon predicts more from Balde

Neil Lennon told Celtic fans to expect to see more of Amido Balde after the big striker came off the bench to score the clincher in the 2-1 Scottish Premiership victory over Partick Thistle at Firhill.

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Football - Lennon predicts more from Balde
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Amido Balde scored Celtic's winner against Partick Thistle

The 22-year-old, born in Bissau but who has represented Portugal at under-20 level, has been consigned mostly to the bench since signing from Vitoria Guimaraes in the summer for a reported fee of around £1.7million on a four-year deal.

Balde scored after coming off the bench in a comfortable 5-2 win against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in September but he proved to be the difference in Maryhill, after Jags striker Kris Doolan had cancelled out the first-half opener from Georgios Samaras.

However, in the 75th minute Balde, on for Beram Kayal nine minutes earlier, finished off a solo run by sliding the ball past Partick keeper Scott Fox to leave the Hoops unbeaten in the league this season.

The Celtic boss said: "We know what we have got with Amido. He knows and we know that he is here for the long haul and we are going to try to polish off the rough edges that he has.

"We think he has got great attributes and we saw that today.

"He has been very patient. He understands where he is within the squad and he will be a good player for Celtic.

"I have maintained that as the season progresses we will see more of Amido.

"He hasn't got frustrated, he is listening and trying to learn and you can see he brings a different dimension to the team.

"When things get a bit physical, he is a great option to have and I thought his goal was terrific.

"It was a good game, a good test for us. In spells we weren't at our best but it was a great win.

"We should have been home and hosed at half-time, we had three really great chances on top of the goal we scored."

The Northern Irishman admitted he was concerned about the head knock left-back Emilio Izaguirre suffered in blocking a shot from Christie Elliott and which led to him coming off on a stretcher.

Samaras also came off with a gash on his knee with five minutes of normal time remaining to leave the visitors playing out the game with 10 men, after using all three substitutes.

Lennon said: "Emilio got a bang on the head and was feeling a bit dizzy and a bit nauseous but was sitting up.

"When you see a player going down it is always a huge concern after a head knock but he is okay thankfully.

"He is a little bit sore and we will monitor him over the next couple of days.

"Sami got a gash on his knee and he is getting stitched up at the minute and he will obviously be a doubt for the weekend.

Alan Archibald's side are still looking for their first home league win of the season but the Jags boss will take "a lot of positives" from his side's performance which earned a round of applause from the Thistle supporters at the end of the match.

"We ran the champions very close and created some good chances," he said.

"I was a lot more happy with the second half, I thought we gave them too much respect in the first half.

"I think if we play like that against most other teams we won't be far away."

Archibald admits the loss of the first goal, where Samaras got a free header from an Izaguirre corner, left him frustrated.

He said: "Corners and free-kicks is something, as a manager, that frustrates the life out of you.

"We tell them not to give them away and when you give them away, they all have a job to do and they didn't do it."

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