SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 17 December, 2016. Kick Off: - 15:00
Ticket Update – 16/12/2016 @ 18:30
Around 200 unsold tickets will be available to purchase from Tynecastle ahead of tomorrow’s fixture. Once these tickets are sold there will be no further allocation so, if you are planning to buy your ticket tomorrow, please allow a little extra time in order to get to the ground early. Turnstiles will open at 2pm.
Tickets are priced as below:
Adults – £24, Concessions – £18, Under 18 – £14, Under 13 – £5
Adults – £18, Concessions – £13, Under 18 – £10, Under 13 – £5
A concession qualifies as over 65 or a student in full time education with a valid matriculation card.
Disabled tickets are also available at £12(carer free of charge). Please contact the club on 0141 571 1971 or visit the Firhill offices to purchase.
City Centre Branch:
Q Club – 11:20
Station Bar – 11:30
Non members welcome.
Jordanhill Station – 13:00
Thornwood Bar – 13:05
£12 for adults
£6 for concessions
All Jags fans are welcome but booking is essential.
Milngavie Station – 12:30
Esquire House – 12:45
Maryhill Community Halls – 13:00
£16 for adults
£10 for concessions.
A concession qualifies as school aged children, unwaged adults, senior citizens & matriculated students
With the games coming thick and fast in December, a trip to Tynecastle on Saturday followed by a Tuesday night at Celtic Park might not have been the way Thistle boss, Alan Archibald would have planned the festive fixtures. Having said that, Archie was upbeat about the tough back to back away games that his side now face.
“We’ve known this would be coming for a while to be fair and a tougher set of back to back fixtures I really don’t think you could have asked for. At the end of the day though, you want to play these teams, that’s why you strive to get into the top flight. We know how good both teams are and the players are well aware of what they are going up against over the next week.
“Things are so tight in the league right now that we have to treat every point as a prisoner. It is going to be a real scrap for every team lower than fourth or fifth as the season goes on and we need to make sure we are taking every point that we possibly can to move us up the table.”
It’s very much a case of what goes around comes around for Archibald and the gaffer knows that, on the other side of the next two games there is a run of fixtures against teams around Thistle in the table.
“Everyone plays everyone and we need to remember that. We’ve not got a great record against the bigger teams in recent seasons but we have been able to take points from the teams around about us. We need to start doing that again this season and make the most of every chance we get as they are the key six pointers.”
Many Thistle fans enjoy the trip through to the capital to take on the Gorgie Boys and Archie is no different.
“It was certainly one of my favourite places to go, both as a player and a manager. It’s a great stadium and the atmosphere is always superb so that should spur our boys on too. If players can’t get motivated going and playing in that kind of environment then there must be something wrong.
“One of the best night’s I’ve had as a manager happened at Tynecastle when we secured survival in the first season up in the Premiership so we have good memories and we certainly know we can go and compete there on our day. We barely laid a glove on them last season though so we need to change that.
“Obviously it’s Cathro’s first game so we know the team will be out to impress and I certainly think they will start strong but we just need to match them and play our own game.”
Having enjoyed a torrid time on the injury front earlier in the season, things are starting to look up for the Jags as, slowly but surely, the treatment room begins to empty.
“Mustapha Dumbuya has started training with us and is looking to get back to full training next week so we’ll be looking to target early February for him. As for the others, there are no fresh worries so it’s just the long term ones. Ryan Scully is still working on his shoulder, Gary Fraser is still recovering and Bannigan’s rehab is ongoing.”
What a contrast in two halves of football.
Thistle were poor in the first 45 minutes and were fortunate not to trail by more thsn Johnsen's 16th minute goal.
The second half was a different story entirey. Barton moved into midfield and Thistle controled the game.
Sean Welsh's header drew Thistle level just after the restart and Thistle were so unfortunate not to claim full points.
But for Jack Hamilton in the Hearts goal they would surely have done so. He produced fantastic saves from Azeez, Erskine and Doolan while Booth saw his effort hit the bar.
Minimum of 2 minutes of additional time.
Hamilton again denies Thistle with a stop with his feet when Doolan was left with just him to beat.
Watt drives into the Thistle box where he is halted by a Lindsay challengfe with Thistle enjoying the break of the ball to get a goal kick.
Cerny makes a confident catch to claim a Hearts free kick that is knocked deep into the Thistle box.
Hamilton makes a great save to deny Erskine with Thistle coming close from the corner that follows.
Thistle strike the Hearts bar.
Muirhead causes Thistle problems but Cerny is there in the right spot to collect his near post cross.
Djoum shoots through a crowd of players but Cerny is quickly down to save.
Smith comes close for Hearts with a fierce effort that just clears Cerny's bar.
Thistle are full of energy and belief at the moment and Booth sets up Erskine who miscues his shot.
Cerny makes a comfortable save from Rossi's header.
Hearts shot for handball but end up with a corner.
Thistle are pressing all the time and Edwards flashes a shot just wide.
Azeez slips away from his marker but his pass for Booth to his left is too strong.
Another opportunity for Thistle as Dolan and Azeez link up but Azeez's effort goes tamely wide.
Johnsen's header from a Cowie free kick lacks power and Cerny makes an easy save.
Welsh's free kick is headed clear.
Elliott is fouled and Thistle have a free kick in a promising position on the right.
The frustrations of the home fans is growing as they don't get the free kick they think they shouyld have been awarded.
Lindsay gets his head to the corner but it drops wide of goal. His reaction suggestrs that he feels that he might have done better.
Thistle are so close to going in front. Doolan passes to Azeez to his left and he denied a goal only by a fantastic stop by Hamilton.
A good ball comes in from the Hearts right but Thistle defend well.
Crowd 16,418 with 535 Thistle fans.
Welsh gets his head to a low cross fromn the left and his header finds the net.
Lindsay nods on Booth's corner but Hearts are able to clear.
Hearts hold a deserved 1-0 lead at the interval.
The only goal of the first 45 minutes arrived with 16 minutes on the clock when Johnsen had space to head a Paterson cross into the net.
Hearts were in control for much of the opening half and they will feel unfortunate to have a greater advantage at the interval. Indeed twice they came close to a second goal as half-time neared. Firstly Djoum saw his shot saved by Cerny and from the corner that followed Rossi smacked a header off the Thistle bar.
In contrast Thistle offered little in the first half. Booth on a few occasions got into a decent posiition on the left but Hearts keeper Hamilton has had an easy afternoon thus far.
The corner is headed clear.
Hearts are close again from the corner with Rossi's header striking the bar.
Nearly a second for Hearts. Cowie's cross falls to Djoum and he is denied by a fine Cerny save.
Booth takes the cornere himself. It's a decent one but Hearts get the ball clear.
Booth's effort is deflected wide.
Cowie's corner is cleared.
Welsh takes the free kick and he aims in towards the left hand post but he is unable to find a Thistle head and Hearts have a goal kick.
Azzez is fouled and Thistle will have a chance to get the ball into the Hearts box.
Lindsay wins the ball inside his own half. He pushes forward with the ball before finding Booth to his left. Botth's cross strikes a defender and there are same shouts for handball and a Thistle penalty.
Cowie chips the free kick into the box but it goes harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
Osman is unlucky to be penalised for a challenge but Heartts have a free kick about 35 yards from the Thistle goal all the same.
Thistle are nearly presented with a chance to equalise. Doolan collects a poor pass, he passes to Azeez whose shot is blocked.
An excellent ball in from the left poses Thistle more problems but the two players lurking in front of the Thistle goal can't connect with it and Cerny gathers.
Paterson's free kick thumps off the Thistle wall.
Hearts have a free kick in a central position about 30 yards from goal.
Booth plays in a good ball from the left that Osman canb't quite gather and Hearts clear.
This game is in danger of getting away from Thistle but the most recent Hearts attack is halted as Thistle win a free kick inside their own box.
Johnsen collects Lindsay's poor pass for Osman. He nor Hearts are able to punish Thistle for that error.
Welsh's free kick is headed clear. Barton collects the loose ball but his ball into the box is cleared too.
Azeez goes down and Thistle have a free kick on the right in line with the 6 yard box.
Paterson's cross from the right is headed home by Johnsemn. It's a good cross and a good header but the Hearts player has far too much space inside the box to divert his header past Cerny and into the corner of the net.
Cowie's corner is cleared and Thistle try to breaak through Lindsay.
Another Hearts free kick and another chance for the home side to get the ball into the box.
Cowie floats the free kick into the box and a header is glanced wide of Cerny's right hand post.
Hearts free kick on the right, in from the touchline.
First spell off sustained Hearts pressure.
Paterson puts over a great cross from the right but there is no Hearts defender on the end of it. Thistle's defending though angers the manager wh comes to the edge of his technical area to make apoint.
Buaben's long range effort sails over the bar.
First positive thrust from Thistle. After some good play involving Azeez, Doolan and Edwards, Booth lifts a cross towards the back post which is headed clear.
Devine sticks out his foot to make an important inteception at the edge of the Thistle box.
Boos from the Thistle fans as Walker goes to ground inside the box. The referee has a quiet word with him in passing.
Thistle kick the game off.
Alan Archibald has made three changes for this afternoon's visit to Tynecastle.
Into the starting eleven come Danny Devine, Ade Azeez and Ryan Edwards.
David Amoo, Chris Erskine and Ziggy Gordon are the three players that drop to the bench to make way for them.
Having procured just one point from their last five matches, Alan Archibald’s Partick Thistle side would be looking to return to winning ways against Hearts at Tynecastle. The Jags had encountered their hosts once previously this season when the Jambos visited Firhill and managed to steal a late win thanks to a Tony Watt goal in the dying minutes of the clash.
Thistle boss Alan Archibald made three changes to the side that lost to Celtic last Friday night. David Amoo, Chris Erskine and Ziggy Gordon all dropped to the bench while Ryan Edwards, Danny Devine and Ade Azeez replaced them. The team took a three-at-the-back formation to begin the match with Osman, Welsh and Edwards creating a midfield trio. Ade Azeez and Kris Doolan played alongside each other from the start.
Abdul Osman led the Thistle team onto the Tynecastle pitch with the visitors wearing their all-white kit and Kris Doolan kicked the game off.
It took eight minutes for the first opportunity of the game to present itself. In all honesty, it wasn’t much of a chance to begin with as the ball fell to former-Jags man Prince Buaben around 30 yards out and he hit a speculative shot that ended up flying into the stands.
The next chance fell on the 14 minute mark and it was a chance for Hearts once again. Don Cowie whipped a free-kick into the Thistle box. The ball found Callum Paterson, who scored in the aforementioned game at Firhill earlier this year, and the Scotland international headed just a couple of feet wide of Tomas Cerny’s right-hand post.
Just four minutes after Paterson’s chance the Jambos were able to take the lead. Hearts full-back Liam Smith found space on the hosts’ right flank and he then crossed the ball into the centre of the box. The cross found striker Bjorn Johnsen who rose above Liam Lindsay to head the ball across goal, past Tomas Cerny to make the score 1-0 to the home side.
It took 42 minutes for the visitors to create their first chance and it came through left back, Callum Booth. The ex-Hibee was the beneficiary as Perry Kitchen cleared the ball with a poor header. The ball fell to Booth on the bounce and the defender hit a half-volley towards the near post. His shot took a slight deflection and only found the side-netting.
Despite showing some signs of life late on in the half, the score could have been a lot worse for the Jags at half-time. With just one minute left in the first period a cross from the Hearts right-hand side found Arnaud Djoum. The Cameroonian midfielder controlled the ball well before shooting but he was denied by an excellent save by Cerny. The resulting corner then found Igor Rossi who headed towards goal but the centre-half’s attempt crashed off the crossbar and was cleared.
As the half-time whistle went it was a feeling of relief for the Thistle men as they were lucky to be just a single goal behind Hearts. The home side had the lion’s share of the first half chances with a couple of good chances to double their lead that they couldn’t take.
When the teams re-emerged for the second 45 minutes Alan Archibald had made no changes but the Edinburgh side had. Midfielder Prince Buaben was withdrawn and replaced by attacker Connor Sammon.
Thistle needed to start the second half positively and that’s exactly what they did as the score was level just two minutes after the restart. Ryan Edwards was able to manufacture some space on Thistle’s left wing and cross into the box. The ball found Sean Welsh who headed low towards the near post and the midfielder’s attempt wriggled past Jack Hamilton, bringing the away side level.
The goal completely rejuvenated the travelling Jags side who suddenly seemed more fluid in their play. One could say this was down to the fact that Adam Barton was moved into the midfield at half-time, adding an extra body and something a bit different to the Thistle set-up. What was for sure, however, was that the goal marked the start of an impressive spell for the visitors.
10 minutes into the second period Alan Archibald’s side had the chance to take the lead in a game for the first time of the month when Ade Azeez was played in. The move started when Kris Doolan picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and slotted the ball through to his strike partner. Azeez then set himself before shooting but Jack Hamilton’s legs were able to deflect the shot away from goal.
The next man in red and yellow to go close was Ryan Edwards. The Australian unleashed a rasping shot from around 30 yards and although the shot seemed destined for the top corner it flashed just wide of the Hearts goal. Ade Azeez was taken off just after this chance and replaced by Chris Erskine in Archibald’s only substitution of the day.
With 14 minutes to go, Hearts had a rare second-half chance through Liam Smith. The man who set up the first goal almost grabbed one of his own as he cut past Christie Elliott before taking aim. The defender’s shot fizzled just a couple of feet over the bar, not causing Cerny any real trouble. Three minutes later Arnaud Djoum saw a tame half-volley of his saved easily by Cerny.
Callum Booth came extremely close to giving his team the lead when his half-volley ricocheted off the woodwork but even though the ball fell into the six-yard box, Ryan Edwards couldn’t turn it home.
In the 82nd minute substitute Chris Erskine had a good opportunity to complete the game’s turnaround. The ball was played to the midfielder before he skipped past his marker and released a shot which flew towards the corner of the net but Jack Hamilton was there to turn the ball behind for a corner. The resulting corner landed on the head of an unmarked Liam Lindsay and considering the centre-back’s recent goal scoring exploits he will be disappointed to have headed wide from about five yards out.
Only three minutes after that chance, Lindsay was at the centre of things again as he stopped a potential goal. Abdul Osman was dispossessed around the centre circle and the hosts had a favourable run on goal. Tony Watt was played forward and he had a one-on-one chance to go past Lindsay however as the forward entered the box, trying to skip past the number 4 the tall defender slid in heroically hitting the ball off Watt, winning a goal-kick.
The Jags still had time for one last golden opportunity to secure three points. Chris Erskine expertly dinked the ball through to Kris Doolan who made a perfectly timed run beating the offside trap giving him a chance to slot home. The experienced forward tried to place the ball past Hamilton but the Jambos’ goalkeeper blocked it with an outstretched arm.
In the closing minutes, Hearts dominated. They held a lot of possession but all they could do was launch high balls and crosses into the box but Thistle’s defence was resilient and aerially dominant allowing the Firhill side to hold out for the draw.
In the end, it was a god draw away at a bona fide top six side but after the second half showing many of the Jags players, staff and supporters would have felt that three points were deserved.
Alan Archibald must now plan for a midweek trip to Parkhead to take on a table-topping Celtic side at 7:45pm on Tuesday.
Most Thistle fans would probably have taken a point if it had been offered ahead of the team’s trip to Tynecastle on Saturday afternoon. However, following an excellent second half performance, Alan Archibald was rightly disappointed that his side hadn’t taken all three points.
Speaking to ptfc.co.uk the Jags boss said:
“The first and second half performances were night and day. I don’t think we really found our rhythm in the first half but we changed our shape a wee bit at half time and the second half was much, much better.
“I thought we dominated the second half and, but for a bit of poor finishing on our part and a couple of world class saves from their keeper, we would have come away with the win. I thought we deserved the win on our second half performance. We had a header and a couple of relly good chances so we’re a bit disappointed not to have converted any of them.”
A lot was said about the Tynecastle atmosphere in the build up to the match but it was the team in red and yellow that seemed to benefit most.
“We managed to turn the crowd against them which was a massive help to us as it’s easy to get caught up in the atmosphere. The important thing for us is that we go and build on the positives. What we do between now and the New Year will determine whether that feels like a good point or two points dropped.
“Credit to Hearts, they were good in the first half but at the moment it does feel like two points dropped – just because of the number and quality of chances we had. We just need to work hard to make sure we’re looking back on it as an important point rather than a missed opportunity.
“We’ve got Celtic on Tuesday night which will take care of itself but we then have two massive fixtures that could have a huge impact on how our season looks going into the winter break. There were a lot of positives to take from today but we still need to get that complete performance at the front and the back.”