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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sun 5 January, 2014. Kick Off: - 15:00
Tynecastle, Edinburgh

Hearts
1
Jamie MacDonald
3
Kevin McHattie
5
Dylan McGowan
7
Ryan Stevenson
8
Scott Robinson
12
Calum Paterson (Dale Carrick (18), 65 mins)
14
Jamie Walker (Sam Nicholson (28), 74 mins)
16
Brad McKay
17
David Smith (Billy King (19), 65 mins)
20
Callum Tapping
30
Jordan McGhee
 
Subs
21
Jack Hamilton
18
Dale Carrick
19
Billy King
26
Adam King
28
Sam Nicholson
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
James Craigen
8
Stuart Bannigan
11
Steven Lawless (John Baird (17), 84 mins)
13
Gabriel Piccolo
21
Lyle Taylor (Kris Doolan (9), 77 mins)
23
Kallum Higginbotham (Christie Elliott (14), 64 mins)
 
Subs
12
Paul Gallacher
10
Ross Forbes
14
Christie Elliott
17
John Baird
16
Jordan McMillan
31
David Wilson
9
Kris Doolan
 
Subs
21
Jack Hamilton
18
Dale Carrick
19
Billy King
26
Adam King
28
Sam Nicholson
 
Subs
12
Paul Gallacher
10
Ross Forbes
14
Christie Elliott
17
John Baird
16
Jordan McMillan
31
David Wilson
9
Kris Doolan
Match Preview

Hearts v Partick Thistle – 5th January 2014

Tomorrow Thistle make the trip across to Scotland’s capital city for a fixture with Hearts the importance of which can’t be underestimated. Indeed a quick scan of the fixtures list reveals that January is going to be a massive month for the Club with, after the trip to Tynecastle, three of the next four games are at Firhill. Results this month could very well shape the rest of the season.
It is good, therefore, that Thistle approach tomorrow’s game with Hearts with no fresh injury worries. Said manager Alan Archibald when speaking to [link:HOME] a little earlier today;

“Everyone came through the Celtic game fine which is good news. That just leaves Isaac Osbourne and Sean Welsh on the injury list. Gary Fraser’s loan has now ended and he has gone back to Bolton. We really don’t know what is going to happen there.”
Alan continued;
“It was good to give Lyle Taylor some game time against Celtic. He had been in and out of the Sheffield United side so it was a more than worthwhile exercise to play him against Celtic. His arrival at the Club gives us competition for places and it also gives us different options. He can play in behind defenders and we could go with two up front if that was route we wanted to go down.”
Alan is no doubt about just how difficult it will be to collect maximum points tomorrow.
“I was at Hearts’ game with Hibs the other night and they have a great team spirit and I think you need to give Gary Locke a lot of credit for that. Tomorrow’s game is an important one for us but it is also a massive game for Hearts. They will see it as an opportunity to claw back some ground and that will make them dangerous opponents. They’ve a lot of qualities aside from their great team spirit and they probably have more players with top flight experience than we do. The good thing from our point of view is that even though we are on a bad run it doesn’t appear to have dented our confidence any. We suffered a bad defeat against Motherwell but yet in the next match the players were still prepared to get on the ball. That was one of the positives that we took from that game and we will be approaching tomorrow’s game with plenty of confidence.”
The recent high winds and torrential rain hasn’t made preparation any easier.
“It’s not been ideal with the weather and trying to find a suitable facility. We’ve been fortunate that we have a good relationship with the Firhill Complex and are grateful that they basically just gave us the keys to open and lock up. The weather though has impacted on what we’ve been able to do and we’ve had to scale the sessions back a bit. It’s impossible, for example, to work on crossing and shooting when the winds are as strong as they have been. That said with the number of games that we’ve had recently all that we would be doing is keeping things ticking over. You don’t want to risk injury or fatigue with such a demanding schedule of matches.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
0              2              3              3              9
Scorers Season 2013-2014
Kris Doolan 7
Steven Lawless 4
Aaron Muirhead 4
Christie Elliott 2
Conrad Balatoni 1
Ross Forbes 1
Kallum Higginbotham 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Last Game
Scottish Premiership
Wednesday January 1st 2014
Celtic 1, Partick Thistle 0
Hearts Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
0              1              4              2              11
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Callum Paterson 4
Jamie Hamill 4
Ryan Stevenson 3
Jamie Walker 3
Danny Wilson 2
Jason Holt 1
Jordan McGhee 1
Kevin McHattie 1
David Smith 1
Last Game
Scottish Premiership
Thursday January 2nd 2014
Hibs 2, Hearts 1
Last Meeting
Scottish Premiership
Friday August 16th 2013
Partick Thistle 1, Hearts 1
Teams
Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Taylor-Sinclair, Welsh (Higginbotham), Balatoni, Muirhead, Craigen, Bannigan, Doolan (Baird), Lawless, Fraser.
Hearts: MacDonald, Hamill, McHattie, Wilson, McGowan, Robinson (Tapping), Paterson, Walker, Holt, McKay, Smith (King).
Scorers
Thistle: Muirhead (85)
Hearts: Walker (88)
Crowd: 6,540

Match Details
Scottish Premiership
Sunday January 5th 2014
Hearts v Partick Thistle
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Admission Details
Supporters Buses Information
Match Officials
Referee: Iain Brines
Assistant Referees: Dougie Potter and  Graham McNellie
Fourth Official: Euan Anderson
Other Premiership Fixtures
Dundee United v Hibs
Kilmarnock v Aberdeen
St Mirren v Celtic

Match Report

Hearts v Partick Thistle – 5th January 2014

Thistle collected their first win of 2014 collecting a vital three points following a hard working 2-0 win over Hearts.
There was much to be encouraged with in Thistle’s performance in defeat against Celtic and manager Alan Archibald made just one change to the side that performed so well in that match; Steven Lawless getting the nod to start ahead of Christie Elliott who dropped down to the bench.
The game between two sides desperate for points was played at a furious pace with the large travelling support right behind Thistle from the very beginning of the game.
Thistle’s first chance arrived in the 9th minute. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair crossed from the left and although Lawless’ crisply struck volley was on target MacDonald in the Hearts goal saw the ball coming and was well placed to make a comfortable save.
He was, however, picking the ball out of the net just four minutes later. A long clearance from Gabriel Piccolo was flicked on by Kallum Higginbotham leaving Lyle Taylor with just MacDonald to beat. The Hearts keeper was able to partially block Taylor’s effort but that was insufficient to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
Hearts almost made an immediate response but as Walker found space inside the Thistle box he was robbed off the ball by a perfectly timed challenge from Aaron Muirhead.
It was largely Thistle though that were doing the bulk of the pressing and a Stephen O’Donnell cross from the right was destined for the head of the waiting Lyle Taylorr only for a Hearts defender to nip in and head the ball clear.
Both James Craigen and Kallum Higginbotham both had long range efforts clear the Hearts crossbar as Thistle sought the comfort of a second goal. That second goal arrived with half-time just five minutes away. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair saw a driven cross from left cleared for a corner kick. From that corner Taylor-Sinclair was able to connect with Higginbotham’s cross and his header found a berth in the bottom corner of the Hearts net.
A third goal would have settled the issue in Thistle’s favour and they started the second half firmly on the front foot and Taylor saw a shot from an angle saved by MacDonald before, after turning well inside the box, the same player saw a shot deflect away from goal.
It was Hearts, however, that did the bulk of the pressing in the second half but they found it difficult to break through a resolute Thistle defence that were in no mood to allow Hearts a way back into the game.
Ryan Stevenson did come close with a header that just crept over the Thistle crossbar and Tapping was within a whisker of hauling Hearts right back into the game in the 59th minute. His shot dipped over Scott Fox but struck the face of the crossbar with Thistle managing to hack the loose ball clear from danger.
That was the closest that Hearts would come to scoring although the pressure on Thistle mounted a little when they were left to play the final 8 minutes with just ten men. Stuart Bannigan collected a yellow card in the 77th minute and he collected a second yellow card just four minutes.
Thistle though were able to negotiate the time that remained without Hearts breaching the Thistle rear guard as Thistle held on for a win that takes them back above Ross County, Thistle’s next opponents, in the league table.

Match Reaction

Hearts v Partick Thistle – 5th January 2014

Thistle at times this season have received scant reward for some excellent performances. Thistle did deserve their 2-0 success at Tynecastle, even absorbing some periods of heavy Hearts pressure in the second half, but it wasn’t the best performance that they have produced this season.
Manager Alan Archibald, when speaking to [link:HOME] wasn’t overly bothered by that fact.
“There’s not been too many occasions where we have to grind out a win this season. It wasn’t our best performance of the season but the players worked really hard to get the win and I’m delighted for them. They’ve reacted well to the heavy defeat against Motherwell. It was a strike from about 25 yards out that won the game for Celtic on New Year’s Day and the closest that Hearts came to a goal today, when they hit the bar, was a shot from outside the box as well.”
Thistle’s opening goal, scored by Lyle Taylor in only his second Thistle appearance, was a bit of a scrappy goal. Said the Thistle manager;
“It was just a long clearance from Gabriel Piccolo that Kallum Higginbotham managed to flick on and I’m delighted that Lyle managed to open his account for us. Hopefully there are plenty more to follow. I’m pleased too that Aaron Taylor-Sinclair got on the score sheet. He’s a big lad at over 6ft and obviously has the height that can cause problems at set pieces. It was good too to score from a set piece as that’s something that we haven’t had too much success with so far this season. Getting a second goal before half-time was very important as we knew that Hearts would come at us strongly at as in the second half.”
The game itself wasn’t the prettiest and was played at a furious pace throughout.
“I think that has something to do with Tynecastle and the atmosphere is generated. I loved coming here as a player and you feel that the crowd are right on top of you. Talking about the atmosphere I thought the Thistle fans were brilliant this afternoon. They simply never stopped singing.”
It wasn’t all good news, however, with Stuart Bannigan picking up two yellow cards in quick succession leaving Thistle to finish the game with ten men.
“I thought the first booking was a little harsh”, said Alan before continuing;
“When he was booked I did think about taking him off at that point but he is a very important part of our midfield. I don’t know if he has crossed the suspension threshold or not, I’ll need to check with Ian Maxwell, but he will miss next weekend’s game with Ross County. That’s a blow and that makes it all the more important that we try and bring someone in. We are working hard in trying to do just that but you are never confident that a deal will be completed until pen has been put to paper.”

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