SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 18 March, 2017. Kick Off: - 15:00
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock
£20 – Adults
£15 – Concession, under 21 and student
£5 – Under `16
There will be a minutes silence before tomorrow’s game.
City Centre Branch:
Q Club – 12.20
Station Bar – 12.30
Non members welcome.
Please call 07979496154 to book.
Jordanhill Station – 13:30
Thornwood Bar – 13:35
£12 for adults
£6 for concessions
All Jags fans are welcome but booking is essential.
Milngavie Station – 13:00
Esquire House – 13:15
Maryhill Community Halls – 13:30
£12 for adults
£7.50 for concessions.
A concession qualifies as school aged children, unwaged adults, senior citizens & matriculated students
Thistle may have suffered last minute heartache against Inverness last week but Alan Archibald remained as determined as ever going into this weekend’s clash with Kilmarnock. When the Jags boss spoke to ptfc.co.uk there was no getting away from just how big a game Saturday will be.
“It’s huge. I think it’s a massive game. It’s strange because when we played them at Christmas it was completely different, we were at the bottom end of the league and they weren’t far above us. Obviously since then things have changed, they’ve changed the manager and we’ve gone on a wee run and could open up a bit of a gap if things go well on Saturday.
“It’s another massive six pointer. We seem to say the same things to the players every week – “it’s another big game” and they’re just getting bigger every week. I think it’ll be a totally different type of game because we’ll both be going all out for the win – it’s huge.”
Archibald didn’t disguise just how disappointed the squad were after Saturday’s last minute blow.
“We’re still in good form with three wins and a draw but any time you lose a last minute goal to cost you a win it feels like a defeat and it’s hard to find the positives in it, you tend to focus on the negatives.
“I think if we had been away from home last week that might not have happened, we were comfortable in the game and felt that way but that maybe meant we weren’t quite as street smart as we would have been if it was away from home. We didn’t feel like we needed to find the corners or work to see the game out but we need to keep that concentration right to the last.
With the Jags unbeaten in four and holding an excellent record over their Ayrshire rivals, there is plenty of confidence in the Firhill camp.
“It’s important that we take the positives into the Kilmarnock game now though. We’re on a good run of form, and we’re unbeaten in our recent games which puts us in a strong position going into Saturday.
“Every team will be looking at the fixtures coming up and working out what points they can take and what games they can target. A win on Saturday would be a big step but there’s a lot of football left to play and even all three points certainly won’t guarantee anything.
“Each of the sides around us know that if they put a run together they have a chance and, in the same breath, we know that if we aren’t doing the business we’ll fast slip back down the table. Saturday could go a long way to telling us where in the table we might finish but it is by no means anywhere near being over.”
The Jags boss was forced to make a couple of changes against Inverness due to injuries and he is hoping that some of the injury concerns will disappear ahead of kick off on Saturday.
“We’re struggling a wee bit in terms of fitness and we’ll need to wait and see. Danny Devine missed out against Inverness and obviously Abdul Osman and Stevie Lawless suffered knocks in that game too. We’ll give them as much time as we can but at the moment I honestly don’t know which will be available. As I say, we’ll just need to wait and see and hopefully we’ll get some good news tomorrow.”
A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is now available to Jagzone subscribers. Log in now to see it. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight and will be able to listen to live audio commentary from Rugby Park.
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Article Copyright © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online or in print is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.ptfc.co.uk
Thistle have to settle for a point in a game that was fast and frantic.
Chris Erskine's goal seemed to have given the Jags all three points until Tomas Cerny fumbled Sammon's shot from distance to bring the home side level.
Thistle remain in 6th place with just four games to go until the split.
The ball is in the net but Killie's goal is ruled out for a foul.
There will be two added minutes.
A long range shot from Sammon looks to be an easy save for Tomas Cerny but the Czech ' keeper lets it through his grasp and it's 1-1.
Christie Elliott whips a cross in from the left and Erskine attempts to head down but it's blocked and falls back to him. He then takes a touch before scoring at the near post. 1-0 Thistle.
Abdul Osman's cross is controlled by Barton on the edge of the box and the midfielder half-volleys at goal. The shot comes off the inside of the far post before flashing across the goalmouth and going out for a goalkick.
An Erskine corner finds Barton in the centre but the ex-Portsmouth man can only head into the ground and Woodman collects.
A deep Edwards cross causes some trouble in the Killie box and the ball falls to Erskine after some head tennis. The attacking midfielder then tries the volley from 20 yards but he shoots just wide.
Kris Boyd dispossesses Barton and passes the ball to JHones. The wideman then shoots low at goal but it flashes wide of Cerny's goal.
Adam Barton picks up the ball in space, 30 yards from the Killie goal. He takes a shot but it goes wide and rebounds off the net support pole.
Erskine is played the ball by Edwards and the Jags have a run at the Killie defense. Erskine has three options but opts to shoots. The shot flies high and wide.
Doolan hits a low cross into the box and Ajer slices a clearance. It falls to Edwards who can't quite get it under full control and shoots wide on the bounce.
Gary Dicker gets the second half underway for Killie.
The game is goalless at half-time and, in all honesty, the Jags will be happy with that. Killie came out flying, getting the better of the early play. Tomas Cerny was forced into a couple of saves in the opening 45 with Conor Sammon and Kris Boyd causing the Thistle backline major problems.
Late in the first half, the away side came into the game more. Abdul Osman miskicking the ball when he had a chance to shoot on goal from eight yards and Steven Lawless saw his half-volley come back off the crossbar.
You would imagine that the Jags will look to improve for the second half as the Killie side, who pressed well in the first half, tire.
A Chris Erskine free-kick from the right finds Niall Keown but the defender can't direct the ball on target.
A loose ball falls to Steven Lawless who on the half-volley rattles the crossbar from 25 yards. The ball is then cleared.
Hendrie booked for blocking Christie Elliott just outside the box on the wing.
There is a turnover of possession and Ryan Edwards is fed the ball. He then attempts to slot Erskine through but the ball is too heavy.
Edwards blocks a crossing attempt.
Erskine picks up the ball 30 yards from goal. The midfielder then cuts onto his right-foot before unleashing a powerful strike but it is a couple of yards wide of the Killie goal.
Kris Boyd is played through by McKenzie and the linesman's flag stays down despite appeals from the Jags backline. He then shoots but he blazes it over.
A cross to the back post by Longstaff finds Kris Boyd who heads back across goal. The ball falls to Sammon who is at too tight an angle to shoot so turns it back into the danger area. Kris Boyd then gets to that but he is called offside.
Kilmarnock really have come flying out of the blocks and look up for it today.
A poor clearance by Barton falls to Jones who jinks past Elliott before shooting but it goes a few yards wide of Cerny's goal.
A well-worked corner routine from Killie. Jordan Jones ends up finding Scott Boyd who sees his headed attempt saved by Cerny.
On the following corner, the second phase of play sees a deep cross pick out Kris Boyd who directs the ball back across goal bu a Jags man turns it behind.
Edwards does excellently to steal the ball from the toes of Sean Longstaff and passes to Lawless. The wideman shoots from 30 yards but it goes five feet over.
A Jordan Jones cross comes in from the right and finds Kris Boyd. The Killie skipper tries to head down to Rory McKenzie but Cerny collects.
A lofted ball played in behind Dumbuya finds Sean Longstaff. The number 18 cuts inside onto his right-foot and shoots but it's over the bar.
After some decent forward play, Lawless picks up the ball on the left. He then tries to play Erskine through but the pass is too heavy.
An impeccably observed minute of silence in memory of Joanne Johnston at Rugby Park.
Thistle get the game underway.
After a late Gary Warren goal denied Partick Thistle all three points last Saturday against Inverness, the Jags look to get back on track in their search of a top six place against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park this afternoon.
Kilmarnock sit two points below Thistle and as such a win would allow the Ayrshire side to leapfrog the Jags in the league table. A win will be a huge boost for Thistle as they try to make sixth spot theirs. Alan Archibald’s men are undefeated in their last four games at Rugby Park.
There is only one change to the team who started against Inverness. Callum Booth, who has had limited training time this week, takes a place on the bench and is replaced by Christie Elliott. Steven Lawless and Abdul Osman, who both came off last Saturday due to injury, start the game.
After a late Gary Warren goal denied Partick Thistle all three points last Saturday against Inverness, the Jags looked to get back on track in their search of a top six place against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.
Kilmarnock sat two points below Thistle and as such a win would have allowed the Ayrshire side to leapfrog the Jags in the league table. A win would have been a huge boost for Thistle as they try to make sixth spot theirs. Alan Archibald’s men came into the match undefeated in their last four games at Rugby Park.
There was only one change to the team who started against Inverness. Callum Booth, who had limited training during the week, took a place on the bench and was replaced by Christie Elliott. Steven Lawless and Abdul Osman, who both came off last Saturday due to injury, started the game.
There was a minute’s silence held prior to kick-off in memory of Joanne Johnston. A well-respected woman across Scottish football, her ties with Thistle stem from her father, the late Peter ‘Ma Ba’ McKennan, who spent 11 years with the Jags in the 1930s and 40s. She was also wife to Kilmarnock Company Secretary and former Chairman, Michael Johnston. The minute of silence was observed impeccably by both sets of supporters.
It was the away side who got the match underway but the hosts were the team in control, early on. Their strong start led to an early opening for Sean Longstaff, six minutes in. The midfielder picked up the ball on the Killie left before cutting inside onto his right foot. He then unleashed a shot, aimed for the top corner, but it flew a couple of yards over.
The Ayrshire side continued their relentless pressure as the minutes progressed and were almost rewarded in the 17th minute. The home side used a training ground corner routine to create space for Scott Boyd who was found by Jordan Jones but the ex-Ross County defender’s header was saved well by Tomas Cerny at the back post.
Kilmarnock had another good opportunity to create in the 23rd minute. A cross to the back post by Sean Longstaff found Kris Boyd who directed the ball back across goal. The ball fell to Sammon who was at too tight an angle to shoot so he turned it back into the danger area. Kris Boyd then gets on the ball but he is called offside and the frantic pinball was over for now.
Towards the end of the first half the high-pressing Killie side seemed to be tiring which allowed Thistle more of the ball as the visitors began to use the ball more effectively and with four minutes left until half time, the hosts were almost punished for not taking the lead while in control. A loose ball fell to Steven Lawless who quickly shot on the half-volley. The wide midfielder saw his effort rebound off the crossbar and the danger was cleared as the Jags had their first serious effort on goal.
The game went into half time goalless and, in all honesty, the Jags would have been happy with that. Killie came out flying, getting the better of the early play. Tomas Cerny was forced into a couple of saves in the opening 45 with Conor Sammon and Kris Boyd causing the Thistle backline major problems. You would imagine that the away side would look to improve for the second half as the Killie side, who pressed well in the first half, continue to tire.
Just two minutes after second half kick-off, the Jags were presented with a golden opportunity. A low Kris Doolan cross looked like it was going to be easily cleared by Ajer but the Killie man sliced his attempt and it fell to Ryan Edwards. Unfortunately for the Australian, his first touch made the shot a difficult one to take as he had to shoot from a perpendicular angle to the goal. In the end, his effort went wide of the near post.
In the 56th minute, Chris Erskine went close for the away team. A deep Edwards cross caused some trouble in the Killie box and the ball fell to Erskine after some head tennis on the edge of the Kilmarnock box. The attacking midfielder then tried a volley from 20 yards but he shot just wide as Thistle seemed to have taken control of proceedings.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Thistle were denied by the woodwork once again. Abdul Osman’s cross was controlled by Adam Barton on the edge of the box and the midfielder half-volleyed at goal. The shot comes off the inside of the far post before flashing across the goalmouth and going out for a goal kick agonisingly for the travelling support behind the goal.
However, that chance would not deter the Maryhill men and just three minutes later, they had the lead. After a clever Steven Lawless pass, Christie Elliott had space on the left wing. Elliott whipped a cross in from the left and Erskine attempted to head down to a teammate but it was blocked and fell back to him fortuitously. He then took a touch out of his feet before finding the bottom corner, beating Woodman at the near post.
As the game entered the last five minutes, Kilmarnock were throwing everything at the Jags backline. They were playing three strikers and with just three minutes left, they got the goal they so desperately needed. Conor Sammon picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and shot from range. The attempt was straight at Tomas Cerny and it seemed a routine saved for the Czech ‘keeper but he was unable to hold the shot and it bobbled into the net as the Jags team could only watch on as their lead disappeared.
Killie did push for a winner but couldn’t find it. They did have the ball in the net at one point but the goal was chalked off for a foul in the box and the game ended level.
The late equaliser kept Killie within touching distance of the top six as Thistle dropped yet more points to late goals.
The team now head into an international break as they prepare for a part of the season that will make or break the campaign. There are four games left to play before the split and the next match is at home to Ross County on Saturday the 1st of April at Firhill with kick-off at 15:00.
It would be late heartache again for Thistle in Ayrshire on Saturday afternoon. A mistake by Tomas Cerny in the closing stages of the match saw Killie notch an equaliser against the run of play. Although Alan Archibald was clearly disappointed not to have taken all three points but the Thistle boss was adamant that it wasn’t a case of the same old failings striking again when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk after the game.
“I think today’s a bit different to last week. Today was an error that you can’t legislate for and it’s just a shame that one of our most consistent performers in Tomas Cerny has made the mistake in the dying minutes of the game. He has saved us probably double figures in terms of points over the course of the season so it really isn’t like him.
“It’s one error and hopefully that’s it for him. I don’t think he had one last year. You just can’t legislate for something like that – it’s not bad defending, we’ve not dropped too deep. It doesn’t feel good but it certainly isn’t the same as last week.”
On Cerny’s reaction to the error Archibald was adamant that the Firhill number one would bounce straight back.
“Tomas is an absolute model professional so he was already reviewing the footage after the game. I think he maybe thought one of their strikers was coming across him which took his eye off the play for a second but, as I say, he’s saved us a number of times already this season and I’m sure he will more than make up for it between now and the final game.
“It will hit him hard but it’s a team game and we’ll go again. He is one of the most professional players at the club so we know that he will definitely bounce back and that’s the most important thing.”
It would be difficult to argue with anyone who said Thistle deserved all three points as the visitors dominated play – especially after the break.
Archie said: “I thought Kilmarnock were the better team for the first 25 or 30 minutes. They caused us problems from set plays and we struggled to really get going. I thought we were excellent in the second half though and the rain certainly helped the surface. It allowed us to pass the ball a bit more and we played a lot of good stuff – hitting the post and the bar too.
“I thought we did enough to win the game 1-0 to be honest.”
Despite the result there were plenty of positives to take, the performances of the two young centre backs, Lindsay and Keown, was particularly impressive.
“Killie played direct football today and Boyd caused us problems but I thought the two young centre backs were outstanding, especially once they got to grips with the movement off the ball.
“I think the only negative with the way we played was that we had a couple of chances to hit them on the break away and never took them to give us a chance of making it 2-0.”
Despite a good industrious performance, Thistle number nine Kris Doolan couldn’t grab his 100th Thistle goal. Archibald knows it is only a matter of time for the fans’ favourite though.
“I had a funny feeling it wouldn’t come for him today to be honest. there was a lot of talk before the game because of his connection to the area but it wasn’t to be for him today. He’ll definitely get there though, it’s just a matter of time. His work rate and effort today was outstanding as it always is.”
A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Christie Elliott and Abdul Osman. Log in now to see it as soon as it is available.
For a full list of all the great content you can access from just £5.99 per month as a Jagzone member, click here.
Article Copyright © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.