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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Sat 16 February, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
Cappielow Park, Greenock

Greenock Morton
1
Derek Gaston
2
Scott Taggart
3
Willie Dyer
4
Fouad Bachirou (Peter Weatherson (14), 74 mins)
5
Kevin Rutkiewicz
6
Thomas O'Ware
7
Kyle Wilkie
8
Michael Tidser
9
Peter MacDonald
10
Colin McMenamin (David Graham (15), 74 mins)
11
David O'Brien
 
Subs
12
Martin Hardie
14
Peter Weatherson
15
David Graham
16
Jordan Halsman
20
David Hutton
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Sean Welsh
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Paul Paton
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
Hugh Murray
8
Stuart Bannigan
9
Steven Craig (Stephen O'Donnell (14), 86 mins)
10
Ross Forbes (Steve Lawless (16), 80 mins)
11
Chris Erskine (Kris Doolan (15), 78 mins)
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Stephen O'Donnell
15
Kris Doolan
16
Steve Lawless
17
Alan Archibald
 
Subs
12
Martin Hardie
14
Peter Weatherson
15
David Graham
16
Jordan Halsman
20
David Hutton
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Stephen O'Donnell
15
Kris Doolan
16
Steve Lawless
17
Alan Archibald
Match Preview

Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle – 16th February 2013

The waiting is nearly over. Not just for one of the most eagerly anticipated  league fixtures in some time but finally, after two false starts, Alan Archibald’s first game as Thistle manager.
ptfc.co.uk caught up with Alan after Friday’s training session and he was able to provide us with the latest news from the Thistle camp ahead of tomorrow’s game with league leaders Morton.

“The boys are raring to go and are desperate for a game; you could see that in training all week. We played a match amongst ourselves on Monday just to keep things ticking over and training all week has been really sharp, and it only got better the longer the week went on.”
As Alan reveals he has a bit of a selection headache ahead of the game tomorrow but the kind that all managers relish.
“I’ve a full squad to select from tomorrow which is great. Steven Lawless has trained all week and although he looked a little rusty at the start of the week he’s been getting sharper all week and he comes into the squad tomorrow. Having a full squad to select from is a real asset and a good problem to have. Overall fitness isn’t a problem but you are bound to pick up the odd niggle here and there especially on the heavier pitches and we’re going to need every body available to us.”
Does “every body” include Alan Archibald?
“It does. We simply don’t have enough bodies for me not include myself in the team at some point.”
As important as tomorrow’s game Alan was keen to stress that it isn’t in any shape or form ‘win or bust’.
“It is an important game tomorrow but there are loads of other points to play for after tomorrow, and there are going to be plenty of twists and turns between now and the end of the season. Look at the result between Cowdenbeath and Dunfermline on Tuesday night for example. Tomorrow I think it is going to be really important for us to keep our discipline and not get caught up in the atmosphere of the game. It’s going to be important for us to keep eleven players on the park.”
Atmosphere is certainly something that the game tomorrow won’t lack.
“The fans have really got behind us this season and I expect the same tomorrow. In the bigger games when the fans have turned out in big numbers and really got behind us I feel that the players have really responded to the support and singing; even on Boxing Day when we lost to Morton. That’s something that we really appreciate and the support of the Thistle fans can be a big help to us tomorrow.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
2              2              1              9              7
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Chris Erskine 11
Steven Lawless 10
Steven Craig 9
Kris Doolan 8
Conrad Balatoni 4
Stuart Bannigan 4
Ross Forbes 3
Aaron Muirhead 2
Aaron Sinclair 2
Sean Welsh 2
Christie Elliott 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 26th 2013
Partick Thistle 2, Cowdenbeath 1
Morton Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
4              0              1              9              6
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Peter Weatherson 12
Archie Campbell 11
Michael Tidser 11
Martin Hardie 7
David O’Brien 7
Peter MacDonald 4
Tony Wallace 3
David Graham 2
Mark McLaughlin 2
Kevin Rutkiewicz 2
Stephen Stirling 2
Fouad Bachirou 1
Lewis Hawke 1
Colin McMenamin 1
Scott Taggart 1
Kyle Wilkie 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday February 9th 2013
Airdrie United 0, Morton 4
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Wednesday December 26th 2012
Partick Thistle 1, Morton 2
Teams
Thistle: Smith, Muirhead, Sinclair, Paton, Balatoni, Archibald, Lawless (Welsh), Bannigan, Craig, Forbes, Erskine (O’Donnell).
Morton: Gaston, Reid, Dyer (Taggart), Bachirou, Rutkiewicz, McLaughlin, Graham (Wallace), Tidser, Weatherson (MacDonald), Hardie, O’Brien.
Scorers
Thistle: Craig (28)
Morton: Hardie (64), Taggart (84)
Crowd: 4,955
Match Highlights
Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday February 16th 2013
Morton v Partick Thistle
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Prices
Adults £15
Concessions £10
Parent & Child £18
Under 16’s £5
Under 12’s £3

Children under 5 years old are admitted free of charge with an adult.

Concession prices are available to supporters over 65 years old, students in full time education and those who are registered as unemployed. Proof of entitlement must be shown at the turnstile when requested otherwise the full adult price will be due.
Information for Saturday
Travel
By Supporters Bus
By Car
Car parking is available adjacent to the ground.

By Bus
Services from Glasgow stop just outside the park. There are also services from Port Glasgow and Gourock.
Match Officials
Referee: Euan Norris
Assistant Referees: Stuart Maccauly and Ralph Gordon
Other First Division Fixtures
Airdrie United v Hamilton Accies
Falkirk v Dunfermline Athletic
Livingston v Cowdenbeath
Raith Rovers v Dumbarton

Match Report

Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle – 16th February 2013

After a frustratingly long wait Alan Archibald finally managed to get his Thistle managerial career off and running in this eagerly anticipated clash between the First Division’s top two teams. Watching from a place on the substitute bench Alan looked set to make a winning start as his side established a two goal lead only for Morton to fight back and snatch a point and maintain their lead over Thistle at the top of the table.
Listing himself as a substitute was one of two changes that Archibald made to his side. His place in the heart of the Thistle defence went to Aaron Muirhead while the experience of Hugh Murray was preferred to James Craigen in midfield.
In front of a travelling support that numbered just a little under 2,000 Thistle looked a little nervous in the very early stages of the game but an opening goal as early as the 9th minute settled Thistle nerves somewhat. Aaron Sinclair’s cross from the left was gathered by Chris Erskine and he found the back of the net with a low drive. The fact the players ran to celebrate with their manager on the bench told you all you needed to know about the support he has with the players.
Morton no doubt stung by the loss of that early goal tried to hit back immediately and they were unfortunate not to be level in double quick time. A free kick just 10 yards outside the Thistle box was touched to the side for Peter MacDonald and his shot struck the top of the Thistle crossbar on its’ way over.
Indeed Morton responded well to the loss of the opening goal and in the 17th minute they were once again unlucky not to draw level. Michael Tidser was at the heart of most things for Morton and his quickly taken free kick was collected wide on the left by David O’Brien . His cross was an excellent one but MacDonald, from no more than six yards out, couldn’t find the back of the Thistle net.
For all their pressing Morton weren’t forcing Scott Fox into too much direct action but the Thistle keeper was required to make a fine block with his legs in the 26th minute to prevent O’Brien from levelling the scores after the Morton player was on the end of a defence splitting through ball.
Thistle though in the latter stages of the first half began to take a grip on proceedings with Hugh Murray prominent in the Thistle midfield. Chances though were limited. Aaron Sinclair did manage to get on the end of a Ross Forbes corner but there was little power in his header and Gaston was able to save. The Morton keeper was called into action again with half-time approaching. Chris Erskine set up Steven Craig with Craig’s cross from the right rather hit off Stuart Bannigan and Gaston was able to save at his right hand post.
Less than two minutes into the second half and Thistle did have a second goal. A Sean Welsh header from a Ross Forbes corner was cleared from close to the Morton goal line but Thistle retained possession of the ball. Aaron Sinclair was able to deliver the ball back into the Morton box and at the back post Steven Craig was left with the simple task of heading the ball into the back of the net for his third goal against Morton this season.
The outcome of the game though was back in the balance in the 58th minute. After striking the bar from a similar position in the first half Peter MacDonald had better fortune with a low drive after a free kick had been touched into his path; the ball skidding past the reach of Scott Fox and into the bottom corner of the net.
Now firmly back in the game Morton had their tails up but Thistle spurned a good chance to re-establish their two goal lead in the 66th minute. Stuart Bannigan’s cross from the left picked out Chris Erskine but Erskine’s header was a weak one and Gaston was able to save with a degree of comfort.
The longer the game went on the more intense the pressure from the home side became but Thistle were coping well with the long ball bombardment when, with just ten minutes remaining, the home side found themselves back on level terms. In attempting to block a shot the ball struck the hand of Hugh Murray and referee Norris pointed to the spot. After Murray had been booked, MacDonald made no mistake with a confidently struck penalty and the game was tied once more.
Four minutes later Hugh Murray’s afternoon got a little worse. He and Peter MacDonald squared up to each other in front of the Morton support and both players were shown a yellow card; with Murray already booked that yellow card was swiftly followed by a red one and Thistle were left to negotiate the time that remained with just ten men.
There were one of two anxious moments, in particular when the ball just wouldn’t fall for Martin Hardie inside the Thistle box with the clock showing 90 minutes played, but Thistle came through the time remaining without the loss of a further goal to collect a point that could prove significant come the end of the season.

Match Reaction

Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle – 16th February 2013

It had been a long wait but yesterday Alan Archibald finally got his managerial career off and running. [link:HOME] caught up with Alan pitchside after yesterday’s game and he gave us his thoughts on what was an eventful afternoon.
“It was a roller coaster from start to finish and it was a bit mad but I was delighted with the boys attitude, performance and commitment. They were fantastic to a man and it was a great away performance and it was very nearly a fantastic away performance. All that was missing was the victory. What we worked on the players did and what I asked them to do they did. We didn’t lose anything from open play which I was delighted with; just a free kick and a penalty.”
What were Alan’s thoughts on the penalty decision?
“It’s a hard one. I know myself that when you are sprinting out to block a ball it can be difficult. Shug (Hugh Murray) has shown great enthusiasm to get out there and try and block the ball which is great because that’s what I asked him to do; go and press the ball. He’s sprinting out and although I haven’t seen it in slow motion to see what it’s like but it’s a hard one to get your hand out of the road of. It’s coming at him from a very short space. It’s a sore one to take. You don’t always get the benefit of those type of decision and it just so happens that we didn’t get the benefit of it today.”
There was worse to follow for Murray a few minutes later when he collected a second yellow card. Said Alan;
“I didn’t actually see what happened. He explained to me what happened and the referee said the same. They just squared up to each other.  The referee said that there wasn’t a lot in it but he had to act upon it. I don’t think he had to act upon it. These things happen in the game all the time and I don’t think it is a big deal. It probably didn’t help Shug’s case that it was right in front of the Morton fans. I thought he was outstanding today though. With me not playing he and Steven Craig gave us a bit of experience and I thought that they were both fantastic. I had to take Steven off as he had been struggling for about ten minutes after taking a wee knock but I kept him on because he was useful for us when defending set plays.”
Alan could scarcely have made a better start to his managerial career with Chris Erskine giving Thistle the lead inside the first ten minutes.
“It was a great finish from Chris but I was bit disappointed with his other finish with the header. We probably got our second goal if anything a little too early. There is always a worry at 2-0. If you go on and score a third goal then you are delighted but if they get the next goal then the momentum shifts to them. We know what Morton are like; they put balls into the box and it’s hard but the two young centre backs were brilliant.”
Yesterday’s game, no matter the result, was never to decide anything which was a point that Alan was keen to highlight after the game.
“It’s in our own hands. I’ve been emphasising that to the players. If we win our games then we will go top of the league. That’s the way that you have got to look at it. I think Morton were hoping that we would roll over and die today going by some of the comments in the press. I think they thought if we were beaten then it was finished, and that’s disrespectful to the other teams in the league. There is a long way to go and there will plenty of twists and turns along the way.”

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