By Joe McHugh
Brendan Rodgers saluted his players' resilience after an early goal from Scott Sinclair earned the hoops a 1-0 home win over Partick Thistle.
It was far from a vintage display from Celtic but after making eight changes to the side that beat Dundee 2-1 on Saturday the Hoops boss is aware that consistency and fluency is being sacrificed as his side navigate through nine December fixtures.
At the end of that run is a trip to Ibrox to face second-placed Rangers with Rodgers' squad management all aimed towards producing a peak performance to see off the old year.
It was the third successive home match that Celtic had won by a single goal with the Celtic boss satisfied with the discipline his side applied to collect full points.
Rodgers said: "It was a very good win, parts of the game were very good, parts not so, more so in the first half than in the second.
"We didn't quite press as I'd have liked in the first half, we weren't compact enough. In the second half we were much more aggressive, more aligned, closer together.
"Our disappointment was that we didn't score more goals but the players deserve huge credit for staying calm, keeping the ball and keeping another clean sheet.
"You have to credit the players on how they have coped. This was their 41st game and they are unbeaten domestically, that shows real persistence and resistance within the team.
Team wise Moussa Dembele replaced Leigh Griffiths in attack, Calvin Miller made his debut at left back while Callum McGregor and Liam Henderson teamed up in midfield with Sinclair starting his first match since straining a hamstring against Barcelona.
In patches Celtic looked very impressive as they showed bravery on the ball, sending passes around and pushing forward from all angles.
There was also a vulnerability about the home side which Thistle should have exploited, but in front of goal the visitors seemed to suffer nosebleeds.
The goal that mattered arrived in the 16th minute with Sinclair showing that his scoring instinct hasn't been dulled by a month on the sideline.
From a free kick close to the corner flag Henderson cut the ball back with the former Aston Villa man racing into space then clipping a great 15 yard shot across goalkeeper Tomas Cerny into the net.
On Saturday, Celtic travel to Hamilton Accies but for most supporters the clock is ticking down to the December 31 trip to Ibrox and the opportunity to go 17 points clear going into a three-week winter break.