SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 28 November, 2015. Kick Off: - 15:00
Rugby Park, Kilmarnock.
Thistle travel through to Ayrshire for the first time this season to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, a modern stadium located in the middle of a housing scheme. It features a plastic pitch which may affect the football on display, however should avoid an early winter call off.
The traveling Jags fans will be housed behind the goals in the Chadwick stand. With plenty of space and no pillars to spoil the action the Jags support are guaranteed a good view.
Adult – £20.00
Concession – £15. 00
Under 16 – £5. 00
There are a number of trains from Glasgow to Kilmarnock which will get you to the match in time for kick off. The stadium is then less than 1 mile from the train station and should be walkable.
CITY CENTRE BUS:
Q Club: 12:20
Station Bar: 12:30
Non members welcome please call 07979496154 to book.
Thornwood Bar: 13:35
Prices: £12 for adults. £6 for concessions.
Bookings are essential. Contact Alistair on 07817612563 or.
General Enquiries: contact Iain on 07779668357
NORTH WEST BUS:
Milngavie Station: 13:00
Esquire House: 13:15
Maryhill Community Hall: 13:30
Prices: £12 for adults. £7.50 for concessions(School aged children, unwaged adults, senior citizend & matriculated students)
Kilmarnock is easily reachable by car and less than an hour from Glasgow. There is no car parking at the stadium for fans and on street parking around the stadium is restricted so be prepared to park and walk to the ground.
Pubs & Eating
If you don’t fancy a famous Killie Pie there is a number of options for before the match, there is a trusty McDonalds close by and a number of eating places within the city centre.
There is a number of pubs in the city centre and around the train station. There is also The Portman Hotel and Howard Arms within walking distance of the stadium. If you want something closer there is a sports pub in the stadium and also a bar in the Park Hotel which is in the grounds of the stadium.
Alan Archibald caught up with ptfc.co.uk earlier today with confidence still flying high around Firhill on the back of last weekend’s win, which saw Thistle rise to 10th in the table.
“There is nothing better than moving up the league table after a win. We had been in that playoff slot for a while now, but we’ve hung in there and taken our chance to move out of it. Saturday is another massive game as we know a win takes us up to 9th.”
The artificial surface at Kilmarnock has attracted some attention in the media, but Thistle’s record on them in the last couple of seasons has been positive with only one defeat from four games.
“The surface is the same for both sides and, although we didn’t win a game on that style of surface last year, with only one defeat, it shows that it wasn’t the massive game changer it is often made out to be. We’ve been training on astroturf for the last couple of weeks due to the bad weather, with the heavy rain meaning grass pitches aren’t easy to get, so we’ll be used to the conditions – no excuses.
“The surface won’t affect our gameplan. We’ll set up our team to go and win the game, but we won’t adjust our style to overcompensate for an unfamiliar surface. Kilmarnock will be very tough opponents, they managed to get a great draw against Celtic last weekend and we know they’ll be dangerous.”
It’s virtually a full squad that Archibald will have to choose from for the trip to Rugby Park.
“We’ll have Stuart Bannigan back after suspension and he’ll be a welcome return to the squad. The only long term injury is Christie Elliott who is still continuing his rehabilitation and this Saturday may very well come too soon for Tomas Cerny. He’s trained a couple of times this week and we’ll get consultation from the medical team as to whether he will be fit to go.”
Finally, the manager took time out to recognise of Kris Doolan’s contribution to the football club as the striker made his 250th appearance for the club last weekend.
“Kris has been a tremendous servant to the club and thoroughly deserves to have made his 250 appearances. He has been great for me and anytime he has dropped out the team he has worked hard to get back into the side and prove his critics wrong.”
Thistle travelled to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock high in confidence after last week’s last gasp win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Alan Archibald’s side knew that vitory over the Ayrshire side would allow the club to jump over the hosts into 9th spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership.
There were difficult conditions to contend with at Rugby Park with a driving rain and a swirling wind causing no lack of disruption to the teams, as conditions worsened as the first half moved on. Alan Archibald made two changes to the side which had defeated Inverness, with Stuart Bannigan returning to the heart of the midfield with Sean Welsh dropping to the bench. David Amoo was also dropped to the bench with Robbie Muirhead restored to the starting line-up against his former side after making an impact in the late stages of last weekend’s game.
Thistle started the game in a positive fashion but Kilmarnock had the opening chance, when Balatoni skied a low corner from Higginbotham high over the crossbar. Thistle were keen to make a quick start and after six minutes had the lead.
A lovely scooped pass from Osman found Lawless on the touchline and he managed to work his way into space just outside the penalty area. He found Doolan with a lovely threaded pass and, despite appeals from offside by the home side, he was able to calmly slot the ball beyond McDonald in the Kilmarnock goal.
Kilmarnock tried to get back into the game, with Steven Smith dragging a shot wide of goal with only Scully to beat but Thistle were rampant in their attacking ascendancy and soon doubled the lead.
Steven Lawless was fouled as he cut inside from the left hand touchline. Gary Fraser whipped over a fantastic free kick which Doolan headed in at the backpost having evaded all markers inside the six yard box. Thistle were caught napping from the resulting kick off and Kiltie fired a shot just wide of goal as Kilmarnock sought their way back into the game.
They did get a lifeline when Magennis was able to volley home on the turn, having escaped the clutches of Liam Lindsay inside the Thistle penalty area.
As the conditions worsened Kilmarnock took control of the game, firmly pressing themselves on the ball and causing Thistle no end of bother, with a series of long ball to Magennis, with Higginbotham and Kiltie trying to pick up the scraps inside the Thistle half. Ryan Scully, in the Thistle goal, went into the half time interval without having made a save of note, but having plucked the ball out of his goal.
Kilmarnock came out with determination and vigour at the start of the second half and Magennis was looking the main threat to drag the Ayrshire side level. On two occasions Thistle had to be alert to the danger the striker posed as he seemed destined to bring the Rugby Park side level. It was, however, at the other end where the games fourth goal came.
Robbie Muirhead fired a low cross into the box which found Fraser at the back post. He took a touch to compose himself before rifling the ball into the back of the unguarded net from close range. Thistle were passing the ball about with confidence and Fraser had another opportunity to trouble the scoresheet but took too long on the ball allowing the Kilmarnock defence to crowd the midfielder out.
Kris Doolan was on the verge of a hat-trick and almost had it when he got the ball deep inside the box. He elected to, unselfishly, square the ball to Lawless but the pass was overhit for the midfielder. The ball was retrieved with Doolan firing a shot straight into the arms of Jamie MacDonald.
Thistle did grab a fourth two minutes later, and what a goal it was. Robbie Muirhead picked the ball up 35 yards from goal, took two touches to drive into the centre of the pitch which flew past MacDonald into the top corner to mark his first Thistle goal.
Kilmarnock dragged a goal back when Connolly looped a header over Scully from a free kick before Robbie Muirhead added another excellent goal to his collection when a Booth cross found its way to him at the back post.
Liam Lindsay had an opportunity to add a sixth when his header from a corner kick crashed off the base of the Kilmarnock post but there was to be no further scoring as Thistle played out the game to a succession of ole’s from the 717 Thistle fans at the game.
Thistle started November in 11th place and will finish it in, at least, 9th place having picked up seven points from three games in what is a key run of matches for the side. Next up is another crucial game against Motherwell at Firhill next Saturday.
Alan Archibald was the happiest man in Ayrshire when he spoke to PTFC.co.uk after today’s match against Kilmarnock. The 5-2 victory saw his side leapfrog Kilmarnock into ninth position, a welcome change from three weeks ago when the Jags still occupied 11th spot.
Alan said: “I’m delighted with that. We had a good start to the game and settled in really well getting two good goals early doors which we were really pleased with.
“After they scored we probably had our worst period, they had us rattled for 10 minutes and half time came at a good time for us.”
Five goals certainly didn’t flatter the team in red and yellow, indeed the score could have probably been higher.
“Kilmarnock started to chase the game and that suited us. Our creative players got on the ball and our front three did really well. Every one of our attacking players had chances today and that was a real boost as I thought they were very, very good today.
“We’ve played like that before and not taken anything from the game so it’s really good to come away with a good victory with some very good goals.”
Robbie Muirhead struck from 35 yards to give Thistle their fourth and the manager was full of praise for his on loan attacker.
“We’re delighted for him. We obviously brought him in after his performance off the bench last week and we thought he could really give us something today. It’s one of those that can go both ways against you former team. I think he took a bit of time to settle into the game but after that he did really well and definitely played a big part in the victory today.”