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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 28 February, 2015. Kick Off: - 15:00
Tannadice Stadium

Dundee United
1
Radoslaw Cierzniak
2
Sean Dillon
3
Paul Dixon
5
Jaroslaw Fojut
6
Paul Paton
7
Nadir Ciftci
16
Ryan McGowan
17
Chris Erskine (Mario Bilate 76)
18
Ryan Dow
21
Charlie Telfer (Henri Anier 52)
24
Blair Spittal
 
Subs
51
Luis Zwick
4
John Souttar
8
John Rankin
10
Robbie Muirhead
19
Mario Bilate
22
Aidan Connolly
30
Henri Anier
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
12
Paul Gallacher
2
Stephen O'Donnell
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
James Craigen
8
Stuart Bannigan
11
Steven Lawless
13
Frederic Frans
14
Christie Elliott
15
Kallum Higginbotham (Declan McDaid 69)
18
Abdul Osman
29
Lyle Taylor (Kris Doolan 79)
 
Subs
40
Scott Basalaj
5
Callum Booth
9
Kris Doolan
10
Ryan Stevenson
21
Ben Richards-Everton
22
Gary Fraser
28
Declan McDaid
 
Subs
51
Luis Zwick
4
John Souttar
8
John Rankin
10
Robbie Muirhead
19
Mario Bilate
22
Aidan Connolly
30
Henri Anier
 
Subs
40
Scott Basalaj
5
Callum Booth
9
Kris Doolan
10
Ryan Stevenson
21
Ben Richards-Everton
22
Gary Fraser
28
Declan McDaid
Match Preview

Dundee United v Partick Thistle – 28th February 2015

With Thistle on a bad run Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk knowing his team must improve but at the same time keen that the Jags’ poor form not be exaggerated.

“Yes it probably is the worst run we’ve had this season but we have had a lot of games in a short spell and I think that amplifies it a bit. I think most of the other teams in the bottom six have also been through a run like this and we just haven’t had ours yet, we always picked up a win or a draw to break things up. Having said that it is a bad run and nobody at the club is hiding from that.”

While Thistle still remain seven points clear of the bottom three teams Archibald, and his squad, know how easy it would be to get dragged in.

“It is a concern and all it takes is a couple of poor results and you can so easily get dragged right into it. At the same time it works the other way too, a couple of wins and we can look to put together a strong finish to the season.”

Dundee United have dropped points in recent weeks but Archie knows how good they are and won’t be underestimating them ahead of Saturday’s match.

“They’re in a national cup final and have a quarter final coming up in a week so I wouldn’t say they’re struggling! I know they have dropped points but they are still a good good side with a lot of quality. It’ll be a tough test for us but one we are more than capable of rising to.”

The thistle boss does have a few injury problems to contend with though which could cause a selection headache on Saturday.

“Yes, we do have a few knocks. Bannigan is struggling with a knock, as are Dan Seaborne and Christie Elliott. Sean Welsh is still out with the ankle injury he picked up against Hamilton.”

Match Report

Dundee United v Partick Thistle – 28th February 2015

With Thistle on a wretched run of form, a trip to face Dundee United may have been the last place Alan Archibald wanted to take his side, especially as the Jags hadn’t secured a victory over the Arabs for 20 years. In an attempt to halt the slide, Archibald made five changes to the team who had lost to Ross County the previous weekend. Kallum Higginbotham, Conrad Balatoni, Stuart Bannigan, James Craigen and Steven Lawless all started with Declan McDaid, Ryan Stevenson, Gary Fraser and Callum Booth dropping to the bench with injury forcing Dan Seaborne to watch from the stands.

Thistle started the game brightly and a long throw from O’Donnell found Taylor who turned well in the box only to see his shot blocked. A magnificent cross field pass from Craigen then found Higginbotham clear behind the home sides defence. Unfortunately for the visitors a late offside flag denied him the chance to open the scoring.

O’Donnell was looking confident and exciting as the first half wore on and some quick thinking saw his free kick nodded down by Higginbotham to Taylor but he couldn’t get clean contact on his shot and it drifted wide – it was the first real chance of the game though and a sign of things to come. The home side almost made the Jags pay in the 10th minute when Fojut drove the ball across goal but, thankfully, Ciftci miss-hit his shot from six yards and the Jags defence survived.

Despite the scare Thistle continued to look the stronger side and Bannigan slid a lovely pass through for Taylor only to see Cierzniak save with his foot. The United keeper had to look lively again when Taylor got in behind the home side’s defence from a Lawless pass but again the keeper came to the rescue to clear before the Jags striker could get a foot on the ball. Craigen then saw a curling shot from outside the box well saved by the keepr and Osman could only poke the ball wide after a scramble in the United box.

The way the visitors were playing, it seemed only a matter of time before the opening goal came and, in the 34th minute, the Jags opened the scoring with a fantastically worked team goal finished with a wonderful bit of individual skill. Gallacher rolled the ball out to Higginbotham, his pass was collected just inside his own half by O’Donnell who found Taylor’s run wide, O’Donnell continued his run and collected Taylor’s brilliant back heel, O’Donnell then dropped his shoulder, wrong footing Paton with a cheeky step over, before curling a magnificent left foot curling shot past Cierzniak. As our Twitter feed read at the time: Sensational.

With Thistle’s confidence sky high, Frans then headed over a Higginbotham corner, perhaps feeling he should have hit the target with a free header.

However, the noisy Jags support did not have long to wait for a second goal. Higginbotham curled a corner into the box, slipping as he took it and ending up on his backside, but as Frans challenged the ball came off the heel of McGowan and finished in the back of the net to put Thistle 2-0 ahead at half time. A lucky break certainly but perhaps the rub of the green that we have been missing at times this season.

The start to the second half was a little slower to get going with O’Donnell needing treatment after staying down for a period, Frans also required the physio’s attention after a clash of heads in the middle of the park.

In the 57th minute Taylor did well to create an opening for himself but he dragged his shot wide from 22 yards out. Thistle continued to control the midfield and largely dictated the pace of the game, the home side struggling to contain the Jags. Another excellent O’Donnell pass found Taylor whose back heel in turn found Craigen. JC picked out Bannigan in the middle of the park and his shot from 18 yards fizzed inches wide of the post with Cierzniak rooted to the spot.

With 13 minutes remaining Dundee United should have reduced the deficit, Dow got in behind Elliott and squared for Anier who fluffed his shot wide from eight yards – much to the relief of the travelling support.

Substitute Bilate then forced the ball through to Ciftci whose shot was easily gathered by Gallacher and the home side continued to press without really causing any major scares for the Jags’ defence, who were superb throughout the game. The final chance of the match fell to the team in tangerine when, in injury time, Anier again missed a chance when unmarked at the back post, blasting wide from six yards.

As the final whistle blew Thistle fans breathed out in relief having again watched a magnificent team performance on the pitch. The players were quick to acknowledge the large and noisy travelling support who returned home from their tangerine dream having been rewarded for their journey north.

Thistle: Gallacher, O’Donnell, Balatoni, Frans, Elliott, Bannigan, Osman, Lawless, Higginbotham (McDaid), Craigen, Taylor (Doolan)

Subs: Basalaj, Booth, Doolan (79), Stevenson, Richards-Everton, Fraser, McDaid (70)

Match Reaction

Dundee United v Partick Thistle – 28th February 2015

It was a pleased Alan Archibald that spoke with ptfc.co.uk after seeing a Thistle victory over Dundee United for the first time in more than 20 years.

“We got a reaction from the lads which was badly needed. We’ve had a couple of terrible performances in recent months. Today we thoroughly deserved the win.”

It was a spectacular Stephen O’Donnell goal which opened the scoring but Alan was disappointed not to already be in front.

“We had a chance before it. Lyle had a chance, through on goal and we never took it. Higginbotham also had one which was just offside. But it was a great goal and a great move. I thought we’d lost the chance when Lyle didn’t fire it across to Stevie Lawless but it’s a great finish by the lad.”

Dan Seaborne missed the game through injury and will miss the County game next week through suspension, but Alan thought the defence did well without their talismanic captain.

“The defence have had a lot of stick. They were probably the strongest part of our game in the first half of the season. Second half we’ve started to lose a lot of goals, silly goals at that. Today they went out there and defended really well, every one of them.”

Other results meant that Thistle maintained their advantage over the bottom three rather than extending it but Alan was happy just to stop the recent poor run.

“It was important. We’ll look after ourselves and today we did exactly that. We’ve got another big game next week to prepare for now.”

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