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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Fri 16 November, 2012. Kick Off: - 19:45
New Douglas Park, Hamilton

Hamilton Academical
1
Kevin Cuthbert
2
Ziggy Gordon
3
Conner McGlinchey (Andy Ryan (16), 72 mins)
4
Martin Canning
5
Jonathan Page
6
Mikey Devlin
7
Louis Longridge (Grant Gillespie (12), 70 mins)
8
Jon Routledge
9
Stevie May
10
Ali Crawford
11
Ryan Finnie (Gary Fraser (14), 79 mins)
 
Subs
19
Scott Christie
12
Grant Gillespie
14
Gary Fraser
15
James Keatings
16
Andy Ryan
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Graeme Smith
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Paul Paton
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Alan Archibald
7
Steve Lawless (Mark McGuigan (17), 67 mins)
8
Conrad Balatoni
9
Kris Doolan
10
Ross Forbes
11
Chris Erskine
 
Subs
12
Ryan Scully
14
Christie Elliott
15
Stuart Bannigan
16
Hugh Murray
17
Mark McGuigan
 
Subs
19
Scott Christie
12
Grant Gillespie
14
Gary Fraser
15
James Keatings
16
Andy Ryan
 
Subs
12
Ryan Scully
14
Christie Elliott
15
Stuart Bannigan
16
Hugh Murray
17
Mark McGuigan
Match Preview

Hamilton Academical v Partick Thistle – 16th November 2012

Last weekend Thistle moved back to the top of the First Division with an excellent 5-1 win over the erstwhile leaders, Dunfermline Athletic.
With our fixture this weekend moved to the Friday evening we have the opportunity, temporarily at least, of opening up a six point gap at the top of the table and that is precisely what manager Jackie McNamara wants to see his side do, commenting to [link:HOME];
“Dunfermline have a tricky fixture on Saturday and we would like them to go into that match having to play catch up rather than have the opportunity to go back to the top of the league.”
While the Thistle fans have been walking on cloud nine since full-time last Saturday the manager hasn’t felt the need to have to try and get his players’ feet back on the ground.
“The players have just gone about their business as normal. There has been a really good tempo to training in the last few days and the players, just like the manager, are really looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We want to keep winning and keep entertaining the fans as that ultimately is what football is all about. If we can show the same type of energy that we did against Dunfermline then we have a chance to do just that.”
A tough game, against a side that won last weekend as well, is in prospect tomorrow night.
“Hamilton hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us recently and Hamilton will get a lift from their win at Morton last Saturday. We want to take our home form into away games where we perhaps haven’t shown the same degree of fluency. That’s in part been because teams, especially Falkirk, have sat in against us. It will be interesting, therefore, to see how Hamilton set up tomorrow. It would seem they played a 4-5-1 formation at Morton in an attempt to stifle them and it remains to be seen whether they will do the same tomorrow. It’s up to us to combat that if they do and we have the players within the squad to change things if we need to do so.”
Which brings things round nicely to the all important team news.
“Steven Craig misses out through suspension while Sean Welsh is still out. Sean was hoping to be back for Boxing Day but after physio Kenny Crichton took a look at the scan we got, it looks as if he will need to wait for a few weeks after that before making his comeback.”
It’s not all bad news though.
“Stuart Bannigan has trained the last two days and looks absolutely fine. He’s a right wee feisty player and he has been going into tackles just like he always did and he is back in contention tomorrow. He’s back a little earlier than expected and that is down to his desire to get back playing and the work that Kenny Crichton did with him.”
With Scott Fox injured there will be a change in goal tomorrow night but just who will wear the gloves isn’t entirely clear at the moment. Said Jackie;
“I’ll name my team tomorrow. We signed Graeme Smith during the week but we are still waiting for international clearance to come through for him. General Manager Ian Maxwell has been working on getting that sorted out but the fact that Graeme’s last club was in Azerbaijan doesn’t make that task any easier.”
“Scott Fox’s injury has caused us a problem and I spoke to goalkeeping coach Craig Hinchcliffe about what we should do as this is forte. Ryan Scully did well for us when he came into the side last season but this is a different kind of pressure now. It’s important that we have an experienced goalkeeper and Graeme is that. He’s looked good in training, looks a good talker and has a real presence about him.”
“It’s no easy task bringing in a goalkeeper at this stage of the season. We couldn’t get someone from England as cross border emergency loans aren’t allowed. We’ve the Scottish Cup coming up so it needs to be a player where there isn’t an issue surrounding being cup-tied.”
Competition for places is such at the moment that no player is guaranteed a quick fire return to the side after being out either injured or suspended, a fact that Jackie is clearly delighted about.
“We’ve a different kind of squad now from last year and players no longer walk straight back into the team. Look at Alan Archibald. He missed a couple of games with injury and didn’t get back into the team for the Ramsdens Cup Semi-Final. Hugh Murray had been excellent for us but he hasn’t got back into the team since being suspended. Sean Welsh didn’t get straight back in when he was injured earlier in the season. Having this kind of strength in the squad is great. It means there is no case of such and such player being considered so important that they go straight back into the team. It sends out a message that players have to justify their place in the team.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
4              1              0              15           2
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Steven Lawless 9
Chris Erskine 8
Kris Doolan 7
Steven Craig 5
Ross Forbes 3
Stuart Bannigan 2
Aaron Muirhead 2
Sean Welsh 2
Conrad Balatoni 1
Christie Elliott 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Aaron Sinclair 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday November 10th 2012
Partick Thistle 5, Dunfermline Athletic 1
Hamilton Accies Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
2              0              3              6              6
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Ali Crawford 4
Steven May 4
James Keatings 2
Jon Routledge 2
Louis Longridge 1
Darian MacKinnon 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday November 10th 2012
Morton 0, Hamilton Accies 1
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday September 1st 2012
Partick Thistle 4, Hamilton Accies 0
Teams
Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Bannigan, Paton, Muirhead, Archibald (Balatoni), Lawless, Welsh, Doolan (Craig), Murray, Erskine (Elliott).
Hamilton: Cuthbert, Gordon, Hendrie, Fisher (Gillespie), Kilday, Routledge (Ryan), Longridge, May, McShane (Keatings), Neil, Crawford.
Scorers
Thistle: Welsh (41), Craig (56, 86), Lawless (65)
Crowd: 2,603
Match Highlights

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Friday November 16th 2012
Hamilton Accies v Partick Thistle
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Prices
Adults £16
Concessions (over 65s, under 18) £8
Directions and Travel Details
Supporters Bus Information
Match Officials
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Assistant Referees: Michael Banks and Colin McAlpine
Saturday’s Fixtures
First Division
Dumbarton v Morton
Livingston v Falkirk
Raith Rovers v Dumbarton
Cowdenbeath v Airdrie United

Match Report

Hamilton Academical v Partick Thistle – 16th November 2012

New Douglas Park has not been a happy hunting ground for Thistle, and so it proved once again last night as they missed the opportunity to, overnight at least, move six points clear at the top of the table.
International clearance came through for new goalkeeper Graeme Smith and he duly made his Thistle debut. Smith replacing the injured Scott Fox was the only change to the starting line-up that had so comprehensively defeated Dunfermline. There was one change too on the bench where Stuart Bannigan came in for David Rowson.
It would prove to be a night in which little would go right for Thistle and there was a foretaste of that pre-match with sub keeper Ryan Scully picking up an injury in the pre-match warm up.
The early signs were that home side, although essentially deploying Stevie May as a lone striker, would approach this game in a positive manner and the on loan striker, who would be involved in a contentious incident during the second half, was certainly proving lively with Alan Archibald having to time a challenge perfectly inside his own penalty box to whip the ball off the toes of May.
Thistle in the first half never really got their normal fluid passing game together but in the 15th minute Ross Forbes chipped cross to the back post was just a shade too high for Kris Doolan.
There was little though in the way of action in front of either goal but in the 38th minute, with Thistle starting to exert some pressure for the first time in the game, Thistle felt they should have been given a penalty. Aaron Sinclair burst into the box from the left hand side and Kris Doolan appeared to impeded when trying to connect with Sinclair’s ball into the box.
That proved to be an important call as two minutes later Hamilton took the lead with a goal that Graeme Smith is unlikely to recall with any fondness. Hamilton had already come close from a corner and when a second followed just a few seconds later, Ali Crawford’s effort ended up in the back of the net. The match officials at half-time apparently confirming that the ball was in the net prior to Smith touching the ball.
No matter who the scorer was it was that, somewhat fortuitous goal, that separated the sides at the half-time whistle.
The second half performance from Thistle was a much improved one. Hamilton were being seen less and less as an attacking force as Thistle began to hem them in their own half.
The Accies keeper, Kevin Cuthbert, though was all too infrequently called into direct action as Thistle never seemed to enjoy the break of the ball in and around the home side’s goal. Cuthbert did, however, produce a smart save to keep out Ross Forbes’ deflected effort in the 65th minute after Aaron Sinclair had laid the ball back into Forbes’ path.
Five minutes later Thistle cries of ‘goal’ were stifled when Stephen O’Donnell’s effort slipped the wrong side of the post after he had turned sharply inside the box. The final touch coming from a Hamilton defender and Thistle were awarded another corner kick. Ross Forbes’ delivery of those corners were frequently excellent but time and time again Thistle couldn’t force the ball home.
With 16 minutes of the game remaining Thistle’s task became that bit harder when Paul Paton was sent off. The referee deciding that Paton’s challenge on Stevie May, over on the main stand touchline, was worthy of a straight red card. It was a decision that incensed the player and his manager alike with Jackie McNamara sent to the stand for his comments directed toward the match official.
Even a man short Thistle still took the game to a home side that were by now showing little willingness to attack. A Stephen O’Donnell cross was headed off the line and when the ball broke to Chris Erskine his first time shot cleared the Hamilton bar.
With Thistle throwing men forward in search of an equalising goal there were always a danger of being caught on the counter attack and twice in the losing stages May nearly extended his side’s lead. Firstly sending a shot wide of goal before Smith produced a smart save low to his right with the game in injury time.
Thistle’s last chance was a half volley from Mark McGuigan from the edge of the box that was always drifting wide of goal and with that effort went Thistle’s final chance of rescuing a point.

Match Reaction

Hamilton Academical v Partick Thistle – 16th November 2012

“Sometimes you don’t see these things coming”.
So said assistant manager Simon Donnelly after last night’s bitterly disappointing 1-0 defeat to Hamilton Accies.
Simon continued;
“After last week we came into the game with plenty of confidence. It’s a tough place for us to come though and we find it difficult to get results here. I’ve just spoken to the players and we can’t question their attitude or their fight. Even with ten men I thought that we were the better team. Second half we had waves of attacks but maybe without that last wee bit of quality or composure. There were plenty of balls going into the box, we were just looking for someone to get on the end of them. Tonight it just wasn’t to be. I said that in the dugout with about five minutes to go after another skirmish inside their box, I said that this was one of those nights when it wasn’t going to happen for us. We though Stephen O’Donnell was going to set to score and his effort must have come off someone as we were awarded the corner. It’s about that bit of composure again. If we had had it in the final third we might on another night have got the goal that got us back into the game.”
Not for the first time we encountered a side, at home, who were content to sit in for long periods.
“The players are disappointed but it is a compliment to us that teams are setting themselves up like that at home. I thought that we looked like the home side out there, trying to play the right way and attacking especially in the second half. We just need to move on.”
There were a couple of controversial incidents during the game. One in the first half when it was felt that Kris Doolan had been impeded in the Hamilton box, and one in the second half when Paul Paton was sent off. Simon was able to give us his, considered, thoughts on those two incidents.
“Kris Doolan feels that he was pushed but we didn’t get the penalty. We spoke to Kris at half-time and he is adamant that it was a penalty. As for the red card, I’m not convinced that it is a red card offence. It could be argued that he’s left the ground. There was a shoulder, then he’s gone into the tackle, as I said, I’m not convinced that it was a red card. It was actually the linesman nearest us that was advising the referee on the decision.”
Paul’s red card will almost certainly mean a two game suspension for a player who has had a major impact on our excellent start to the season.
Said Simon;
“Paul has been great for us this season but again that’s an opportunity for someone to come in now. It’s something that we will just need to deal with. We did last week against Dunfermline when we were without three players you would have considered as starters and went out and got the result. The players that came in did a great job and now it will be someone else’s chance to come in and do the same.”
Thoughts are now on next week’s game with Livingston.
“Tonight’s result is a sore one because we wanted to keep the run going. The sign of a team that wants to go on and challenge at the top is one that can bounce back. They did that after the last set back and they’ll need to do it again. The players have been great this season and we can’t criticise any with the way that we have started the season.”

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