SPFL Ladbrokes Championship
Sat 16 February, 2019. Kick Off: - 15:00
The Indodrill Stadium
City Centre Branch:
Q Club – 11:45
Station Bar – 12:00
Non members welcome.
John Lambie Jordanhill Branch:
Jordanhill Station – 13:15
Thornwood Bar – 13:20
£15 for adults
£8 for concessions
All Jags fans are welcome but booking is essential.
Milngavie Station – 12:30
Esquire House – 12:50
Maryhill Community Halls – 13:05
£12.50 for adults.
£7.50 for concessions.
Partick Thistle return to Ladbrokes Championship tomorrow afternoon as the squad head to the Indodrill Stadium tomorrow afternoon for their third encounter with Alloa Athletic. The Jags have yet to defeat the Wasps this campaign but manager Gary Caldwell was looking ahead to the match when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk
“We’re looking forward to another tough challenge against Alloa Athletic. We’re a totally different Partick Thistle team to the one which went there in my first game in charge. We’ve trained well this week and we’re ready to face another big challenge. We’ve been on a good run of results which has brought confidence to the squad.”
The squad is bolstered by the addition of Scott McDonald and the gaffer was pleased to add to his attacking options for the rest of the campaign.
“We’ve had him in training this week and he’s done really, really well. Physically, he’s as fit as he was when he was at Celtic, if not fitter. He’s lacking match sharpness having not played in over six months. He’s a very experienced player who has played in the league and knows what is needed to go out and perform on a Saturday.
“He still has the ability. He still has the physicality. The most important asset was that he still has the mentality to go and achieve something in the game. He’s got competition for the striking positions, he knows he will have to come in and fight for his place; it won’t just be handed to him on a plate.”
Jamie Sneddon also penned a contract extension late on Friday afternoon and Gary is pleased to have the talented young goalkeeper tied up for another season.
“Jamie is a fantastic young goalkeeper who has developed a lot in the short time I’ve been at the Club. He came into the side at a difficult time in the season and did really well. He works hard in training every day with the other goalkeepers and Kenny Arthur and you can see that he has real talent so I’m glad that we were able to sign him up for another year.”
Last week saw Steven Saunders and Miles Storey limp off with injuries and the gaffer updated us on their status.
“The muscle injuries that Steven Saunders and Miles Storey picked up last weekend are not as bad as first feared. When they first came off we thought it might have been weeks before we saw them back on the pitch again but they’ve been progressing steadily through the week. Saturday might come a bit too soon for them but we’ll give them every chance to be involved in the match. Scott McDonald joins the matchday squad after putting pen to paper on his deal until the end of the season so that is a boost in numbers for us. ”
Finally, the manager updated us with some of the other longer term injuries around the Club.
“Tam O’Ware made it out onto the grass this week which was great to see and a big boost for him. It’s very difficult when you have a long term injury because there is lots of hours you have to spend in the gym on your own. Now that he is on the grass with the ball he can spend more time with the rest of the squad.
“Joe Cardle is making progress as well so hopefully he can come into contention for the squad next Saturday against Ross County.”
More exclusive preview interviews with Kris Doolan, Lewis Mansell and Jags gaffer, Gary Caldwell, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.
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Can’t make it to the Indodrill Stadium? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday.
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Article Copyright © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.
Anderson is fouled as Alloa threaten with a long throw winning a Jags free kick in his own box.
Thistle happy to keep the ball in the final third of Alloa's half of the park.
McMillan clear off the line as it looked easier for the Alloa player to score
McDonald slips as he shoots inside the box.
Mansell's first touch is to tee up McDonald who can't miss and Thistle lead by two goals!
Harkins wins a free kick in a central area about 30 yards from goal.
McDonald gets in behind the defence again. He looks to square to Doolan but the angle is blocked off so he has a shot which is blocked and Alloa clear.
Alloa threatening the Jags final third but McMillan and Anderson and clearing everything for the moment.
A long throw bobs around the Jags penalty area before Slater finally clears.
Bannigan wins the ball before Doolan finds McDonald in the box but from a tight angle he can't keep the ball down and his shot clears the bar by inches.
A free kick wide of the pitch, won by McDonald, is set over by Spittal and headed behind for a corner.
Thistle defend the corner with 10 men and Graham nods behind at the back post.
Spittal goes down in the centre circle and Alloa play on . An Anderson block halts the attack and gves Alloa a corner.
Penrice's chipped cross is claimed by Parry with Doolan and Spittal lurking.
Doolan's shot from the edge of the box is inches past the post.
Hazard's throw out sends Fitzpatrick down the line but the ball gets trapped under his feet. It falls to Harkins who shapes to shoot but slips at the vital moment.
The next corner is high and over everyone in the box.
Hazard with a low save to turn away Cawley's shot for a second corner.
Anderson with another commanding header in defence to clear the danger.
A footwear change for Conor Hazard delays the corner being taken. When the delivery arrives Alloa clear easily.
It's cleared off the line after a low corner finds Harkins. It ends up with McMillan at the back post who crosses and hits the bar! The ball goes behind for an Alloa goal kick.
Hazard punches clear but the home side keep the pressure on. Thistle eventually earn a goal kick
A short corner doesn't work and Alloa clear. Fitzpatrick loses concentration for a second but Penrice is there to bail his team mate out and sent it out for a throw on the half way line
Cawley sneaks into the box but can't control from a cross and Thistle has a goal kick.
A quieter last five minutes as Alloa look to build their way back into the game but Thistle defending well. Game has become a midfield battle
A low cross from the Jags left is cleared away for a throw by Christie Elliott
Tenacious play from Fitzpatrick advances down the left hand side. He looks to be fouled but gets nothing as Alloa thump it forward.
The corner is cleared and ends up with Slater at the edge of the box His driven shot is wide of the post.
Spittal wins a corner after forcing Parry into a low save at his near post.
Great play from Spittal to skip away from the challenges of two Alloa players. He cuts back for Fitzpatrick but a vital last gasp lunge clears.
Spittal with a shot from the edge of the box but it is high and wide.
Slater is picking it up between the lines and sends it wide to Penrice. A cross is headed clear but Slater picks it up again. His shot from the edge of the box is high and wide.
Blair Spittal fires high into the net after being teed up by Kris Doolan
A massive worry for Thistle as Conor Hazard remains stricken on the ground after gathering the ball. The physio races on to treat him. Conor looks good to continue.
Thistle straight on the attack with early shouts for a penalty as Doolan tumbles under a challenge. Referee Gavin Ross waves away the shouts.
A trip to the Indodrill Stadium awaited Partick Thistle as the Maryhill men aimed to make it three away wins in a row, for the first time since 2013, with a victory over Alloa.
The two teams went into the game in contrasting form with the hosts looking to end a run of four straight defeats while the Jags sought a fifth consecutive win in all competitions. Thistle had also scored the opening goal in every one of their six games since the turn of the year.
There were two changes made to the side which edged past East Fife last Saturday with Steven Saunders and Miles Storey both missing through injuries sustained at Bayview. Conor Hazard maintained his spot in goals behind a defence which had reverted to a back four in the absence of Saunders. Christie Elliott and James Penrice were the full-backs while Jack McMillan and Steven Anderson completed the backline. In midfield, it was Stuart Bannigan, Craig Slater, Gary Harkins and Blair Spittal in behind a front two of Aidan Fitzpatrick and Kris Doolan. On the bench for the Jags it was Jamie Sneddon, Sean McGinty, Callum Wilson, Lewis Mansell, Ally Roy, Souleymane Coulibaly and new addition, Scott McDonald who only signed his Thistle contract a day ahead of the game.
In tune with their other games in 2019, the Jags started on the front foot and with that, they bagged their quickest league goal of the season on four minutes. It all came from a James Penrice throw in as the number three gave the ball to Blair Spittal with the throw before getting it back immediately. He then whipped a delivery into the front post area where Kris Doolan managed to bring it down despite pressure from Andy Graham. Doolan then laid the ball back to Blair Spittal who lashed it into the roof of the net with the effort’s pure power taking it past Neil Parry.
After that blistering start, the game settled down to a steadier pace with the midfield battle the most interesting part of the game. Apart from a couple of ranged attempts by Craig Slater and Stuart Bannigan there were no chances until the 35th minute when the Jags went close on two occasions in quick succession.
First of all, it was Gary Harkins who almost nabbed his first goal for Thistle since returning to the Club. He got on the end of a low corner which was delivered to the near post with the number 11 hitting it first time, looking for the bottom corner. His effort was cleared off the line with the ball finding its way to Jack McMillan on the opposite side of the box. He attempted a lifted cross to the back post which ended up beating Neil Parry and rebounding off the crossbar with the ball inches away from sneaking into the net.
The home side did have one opportunity before the interval through Wasps number seven, Kevin Cawley. The midfielder picked up the ball around the 18-yard line before opening it up for a right-footed shot. He bent an effort towards goal but Conor Hazard was down quickly to turn the ball away from goal.
The referee then blew for half-time with the away side entering the break a goal ahead. Thistle’s early goal had been by far and away the best chance of the opening 45 minutes with neither team seriously threatening to score in the following minutes preceding half-time.
The visitors almost made an even quicker start to the second half than that of the first as Kris Doolan fired a shot just past the post on 47 minutes. The number nine was fed the ball around 20 yards from goal, letting it roll past him before firing a left-footed half-volley goalwards. His shot flew past Neil Parry at pace but unfortunately just skipped wide of the post.
The Jags’ first substitution of the game was committed after 64 minutes when Aidan Fitzpatrick was withdrawn to be replaced by Scott McDonald, who was making his first appearance for Thistle just 24 hours after being unveiled as a Jag.
He almost left his mark on the game three minutes into his Jags career as he got a sight of goal with 23 minutes to play. Stuart Bannigan battled and won the ball high up the pitch, getting the ball to Kris Doolan before the striker fed McDonald. The Australian’s first touch was good but with his second, he could only fire the ball over the bar from a tight angle.
Another Thistle change was made in the 78th minute when Lewis Mansell came on for Kris Doolan and the number 30 only needed one touch to help Thistle towards a vital second goal. Gary Harkins picked up the ball on the right flank before knocking the ball into the box. The freshly introduced Mansell headed down to Scott McDonald who after controlling, poked the ball past Neil Parry to make it 2-0.
The away side’s final substitution came when Gary Harkins was withdrawn with Callum Wilson being introduced for just his second league game for the first team.
The only late threat Alloa offered came right at the beginning of the five added minutes that were played with Jack McMillan being needed to clear the ball off the line. It came from good work by Jordan Kirkpatrick on the right wing with his low cross finding Liam Dick. The left-back couldn’t get a shot away but the ball did fall to Jack Hamilton and with Conor Hazard out of position, it looked like an easy finish for the forward. However, his effort was blocked on the goal-line by Jack McMillan who had positioned himself well between the sticks.
The final whistle then went and Thistle secured five wins a row for the first time since a run that ended in August 2016. The victory moved them above their opponents as well as Falkirk with the Jags now sat in eighth place.
Next up is the visit of Ross County as the league leaders come to Maryhill for the second time this season. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.
PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Hazard, Elliott, McMillan, Anderson, Penrice, Bannigan, Harkins (Wilson, 86’), Slater, Spittal, Doolan (Mansell, 78’), Fitzpatrick (McDonald, 64’).
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Sneddon, McGinty, Coulibaly, Roy.
ALLOA ATHLETIC TEAM: Parry, Dick, Roscoe, Graham, Taggart, Cawley (Kirkpatrick, 73’), Flannigan, Hetherington (Robertson, 83’), Shields, Trouten (Hamilton, 81’), Zanatta.
UNUSED SUBS (ALL): Henry, Brown.
After six games unbeaten to begin 2019, Partick Thistle looked to continue their resurgent form with a result at the Indodrill Stadium against Alloa Athletic. The Jags had failed to win in their two previous meetings with the Wasps this season, however, they were able to fix that record thanks to a 2-0 victory today. It took just four minutes for the away side to break the deadlock as Blair Spittal smashed home his eighth goal of the season having been set up by Kris Doolan. The lead was then doubled on 79 minutes with two substitutes combining to extend the red and yellow advantage. Lewis Mansell nodded the ball down to the feet of debutant Scott McDonald who slotted home past Neil Parry to bag his first goal for the Club.
With Gary Caldwell serving a one match suspension, assistant manager Brian Kerr took control from the sidelines this afternoon with Caldwell sat in the stands. As such, Kerr also took on Gary’s post-match responsibilities, speaking to ptfc.co.uk following the game.
Brian began by explaining why Caldwell’s absence from the technical area on matchday did not affect the team’s preparation for the Alloa fixture.
“So much of what we do happens through the week so we’ve been preparing for the match as normal even though Gary wasn’t in the dugout with me today.
“We have our gameplan ready well in advance and the manager has plenty of time to make sure the players know what they need to do. On top of that, a few hours before the game, at our pre-match meal, he got to speak to them and give some final words ahead of the game.
“Overall, whether he’s on the sidelines or in the stand it comes down to the players to perform and they did their part today in what was a brilliant result.”
Off the back of the day’s triumph, Kerr is hopeful that the team can start to move away from the relegation dogfight and begin to look upwards in future.
“The aim for us is to keep climbing and try to get away from those bottom two spots. We’re now above Alloa and Falkirk and we aren’t too far away from the likes of Morton and Dunfermline. Ultimately, we just need to keep up our current form and we’ll continue to move up the league.”
He gave new signing, Scott McDonald, praise after the Australian netted the team’s second goal just a day after joining the Club on a deal until the end of the season.
“You can’t ask for much more than that, can you? We brought him in for a reason and that was to score goals which he’s started doing immediately. He had three or four chances and when his match sharpness is built up, he’ll probably take all of those but to get one is still excellent for the team.”
He also complimented the performance of Steven Anderson who played a big part in securing the team’s first consecutive clean sheets since October 2017.
“He’s been a rock at the back since he arrived. It seems like the ball just magnetises to his head at times with the way he wins those aerial challenges. He’s one of a few new players in that defence who have come in with a real hunger and determination which has been a big part of our recent run.”
A more in depth video interview with Brian Kerr is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Conor Hazard and Blair Spittal – log in now to see them.
Highlights will be added shortly and will be free for Jagzone subscribers.
For a full list of all the great content you can access from just £5.99 per month as a Jagzone member, click here.
Article Copyright © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk