SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 23 January, 2016. Kick Off: - 15:00
Caledonian Stadium, Inverness.
The second longest trip in the Premiership calendar, Thistle fans make their second scheduled visit to the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium in Inverness this Saturday. Inverness isn’t known for being warm at the best of times so Thistle supporters are advised to wrap up if they are planning to travel.
The Thistle support will be housed behind the goals providing a good view from higher up in the stand. Unfortunately, due to the angle of the stand, the front few rows directly behind the goals can have a restricted view. Other than this it is a good view, albeit it may be a cold one on a January afternoon!
Thistle fans will be located in the South Stand.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle are operating a “Pay what you can” policy for this fixture.
Disabled fans will be able to purchase in person on the day.
With the match taking place on a Saturday there are a full range of travel options. Some Thistle fans may wish to spend the weekend in Inverness to enjoy and celebrate three well deserved points!
It’s a long day on the train for supporters with the earliest possible train leaving Glasgow Queen Street at 07:10 in the morning. The 08:40 service, where supporters have to change at Perth, is also a popular route and both services see you arrive in the Highland capital before noon.
For those who wish to rush back home after the game there is a train at 17:30 which arrives back in Glasgow before 21:00. Fans who enjoy a more leisurely walk back to Inverness City Centre have the choice of a train at 18:46(changing in Perth) or the 20:15 service which sees you arrive back in Glasgow just before midnight.
North West Bus
Milngavie Station at 09:00
Esquire Anniesland at 09:15
Maryhill CC Halls at 09:30
Ful Fare: £25
Concession(School aged children, unwaged adults, senior citizens, matriculated students): £15
For seats call 0141 632 3604 before 21:00 or e-mail
City Centre Bus
Station Bar: 09:30
Non members welcome – Call Duncan on 07979496154
Adult members: £20
Concession members: £12
To make a booking contact Alistair on 07817612563 /. Booking is essential. For general enquiries contact Iain on 07779668357 / .
If you don’t want to get the train and stay and haven’t booked your seat on a supporters’ bus then you can drive, there is a car park outside the ground. Directions from Firhill can be found here.
Pubs & Eating
There is a pub within the ground itself in which both home and away fans are welcome before the game. Supporters will have to be in possession of a match ticket to gain admittance to the supporters barOther than that your closet pubs will be in Inverness City Centre which is a short taxi journey away. There is something in the city for everyone and the centre also features a number of restaurants to suit every taste. There is even a McDonalds!
Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk today ahead of the match against Inverness on Saturday. He started by addressing the poor performance that saw the Jags go down 4-2 at home to Dundee last week.
“We spent Monday morning watching the game back – particularly the first half. They’re an honest bunch of lads and they know that we never did the basics right last week. I take nothing away from Dundee as they were very good but it was very basic stuff that we weren’t doing and that is always going to cost you.
“Over the last 12 weeks or so we have shown what we can do but we were very poor last week and there is no getting away from that. We’ll look to get back to basics against Inverness and hopefully that will see us return to winning ways on Saturday.”
Liam Lindsay’s red card last week opens the door for Frederic Frans who has had to bide his time on the bench during Thistle’s magnificent run of form.
“Freddie has been a bit unlucky this season as he dropped out of the team due to injury and then we’ve been on this great run. He has always worked well with whichever centre back partner he has had, so we have every faith that he will come in and do the job for us against Inverness.
“The back four has been outstanding in recent weeks and that has meant Freddie has had to be patient but he always trains hard and he keeps himself on his toes and ready to go. You saw that when he had to come on last week.”
As January trundles on there is always the question of transfer news, especially in the build up to games. Archie gave us the low down.
“There’s nothing to report on the incoming side of things, although we are all delighted to tie down Tomas Cerny and Kris Doolan to long term contracts. We are really starting to build a solid spine of players for next season and that is always good to see.
“Ryan Stevenson is away as well. Ryan just wanted to play football and we couldn’t guarantee him first team games. He was a massive player for us last season and he certainly goes with our best wishes.”
There was much excitement around the announcement that Chris Erskine has signed a pre-contract agreement meaning he will return to Firhill for a third spell as a Thistle player. Although there was some suggestion that Chris may make the journey down the road before the end of January, Archibald was clear that that decision was out of his hands.
“That’s something that is totally down to Dundee United. He’s their player just now and we completely respect that. We’ll just need to wait and see what happens but obviously we would be open to getting him down here sooner rather than later. As I say though it is entirely up to them.”
Although the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium has been something of a happy hunting ground for Thistle, Archibald knows his team will be in for a very tough afternoon.
“Inverness are a good good side and we are very aware of that. They have a great deal of threat going forward and John has them playing some good football at times too. All our lads know what they need to do but the most important thing is that we get those basics right. You saw last week against Dundee what can happen when you don’t deal with those basics and we can’t let that happen again.
“We have the potential to move up a place on Saturday and start closing the gap between us and the top six. Make no mistake, that is where we want to be, but to get there we need to start another run of form like we have just had. If we can do that then we have every chance.”
Thistle made the long trip to Inverness looking to register their first league win of 2016. Thistle have enjoyed a good record against Inverness since winning promotion to the Premiership in 2013 with only a single defeat in the fixtures to date. Thistle battled to a draw when visiting the Highland capital on an August evening earlier this season while the fixture at Firhill was won with a late injury time winner from Ryan Stevenson.
Manager Alan Archibald made two changes from the side which fell to a heavy defeat against Dundee with captain Abdul Osman, free from suspension, taking up his customary midfield role in place of David Wilson, who drops to the bench. Frederic Frans starts his first game since late September, replacing the suspended Liam Lindsay who served the first of his two game ban.
The first half was quiet with very few chances to report for either side. It was Inverness who started the brighter with Mutombo proving to be a handful for Callum Booth to deal with. For all his endeavour and hard work, however, there was little to trouble Tomas Cerny in the Thistle goal.
Thistle worked hard to try and construct slick passing moves but at times, their passing wasn’t quite as crisp as Alan Archibald would desire. Inverness won a succession of corners in the first half, but all were dealt with confidently by a stubborn Thistle defence, with only a flicked delivery to the back post, which Draper was unable to keep in play as he slid to connect at an acute angle, proving any danger to the scoresheet.
Thistle registered just a single effort on the first half with Stuart Bannigan’s corner reaching Doolan at the edge of the box, but his first time shot was straight at the goalkeeper.
Alan Archibald demanded more of his side in the second half that, in truth, couldn’t have been any worse than the first 45.
Thistle started the second half in a more positive fashion committing men forward as the search for the game’s first goal heated up. Steven Lawless had the first opportunity when he created a pocket of space for himself on the edge of the box. His low effort, hit just after a collision with an Inverness body, across goal was blocked by Doolan, with the midfielder looking to shake off the effects of the collision.
It was to prove too much for the creative player to shake off and his game was over a few minutes, being replaced by Christie Elliott.
Thistle were keeping the ball with ease, as the home support grew more and more frustrated with their sides efforts, Thistles discipline restricting opportunities for the probing Inverness midfield.
Sean Welsh had the next sight of goal, but his effort from 25 yards never really threatened Fon Williams as it sclaffed wide of goal.
Inverness were almost cheering a goal when Miles Storey had a long range effort which Tomas Cerny had to be alert to tip over his crossbar before good work on the wing by the striker set up Polworth. With just Cerny to beat, six yards from goal, the Inverness player sent his effort wide.
The game was becoming stretched as both sides looked to net the goal that would prove decisive. Christie Elliott rode a couple of Inverness challenges to go clear on goal. With Kris Doolan in support the wideman elected to go for goal, with his effort deflected behind for a corner.
This game remained goalless, an outcome that appeared likely from the early stages, and Thistle were able to head back down the A9 with a well merited point.
After a game that was certainly forgettable, Thistle boss, Alan Archibald, spoke to ptfc.co.uk to reflect on a point that was hard earned but came from a very poor game.
“I thought that was awful and a really terrible game to watch. It wasn’t a great game of football by any stretch of the imagination, but we’re ever so pleased to be heading down the road with a point. It was a tough shift today and, although we never really got going in the first half, we looked resilient at the back and worked hard to keep the clean sheet.
“The conditions weren’t great and when the wind got up it certainly affected the way the game was played. Every time the ball went high the wind caught it and had a big impact on where it ended up. We never really got going during the first 45 but we did improve in the second and caused them some problems.”
Having signed a new contract in the week Tomas Cerny again showed his value to Thistle with an extraordinary save to tip over a Storey strike with around 70 minutes gone.
“Tomas has been massive for us this season and that’s another great save and a great example of exactly why were are so happy to have him tied down until 2018. With Doolan, Cerny and Erskine all signed up for next season now we are certainly starting to build the spine of a really good looking side for the 2016/17 campaign.”
Despite the poor spectacle, it was a point which saw Thistle leapfrog Motherwell into eighth spot, the importance of which Archibald is not underestimating.
“It’s great to move up a place again today but you only have to look at that table to see how tight it is in the bottom half to know that we need to keep the performances up. It was vital to get a response from the guys after last week and I think we got that today – you saw that with the clean sheet.
“There were other positives too. Freddie coming in and showing what he can do is really encouraging and we have no problemsor questions over his sharpness. Seeing Christie Elliott getting more minutes under his belt was great too. Christie has had a terrible time of it this season but he put that behind him today and gave us a real spark after he came on.”
The Jags showed a real resilience at the back, something Archibald knows has been missing at times this season. “We were certainly more resilient today and I think we defended very well on the whole and positionally we were much better all over the pitch. All that we were missing was a cutting edge up top today, and that isn’t a slight at Doolan – he worked hard but he had very little support and we struggled to carve out many clear cut opportunities.
“The number one was to improve on last week and we certainly did that tonight. We were more organised and kept our shape much better. All in all it gives us a decent platform on which to build going into a massive game against Dundee United next week.”