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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 24 August, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
Fir Park, Motherwell

Match Preview

Motherwell v Partick Thistle – 24th August 2013

It’s matchday 4 and Thistle are looking to maintain their unbeaten record in the top flight but face a difficult trip to take on Motherwell at Fir Park tomorrow.  Motherwell have consistently featured at the top end of the table in recent season and although have endured a large change in personnel over these same years, they still find a way to perform and that is something that Alan Archibald is impressed with:
“I do like their style of play and have been impressed with them this year even though they have only won one game.  I am expecting it to be a match between two sides who play good football and I think that the supporters of both sides are going to enjoy this one.”
So what is the team news ahead of the game?
“We are reasonably well placed with Jordan McMillan making progress but not yet ready to return while Sean Welsh’s dead leg that he picked up against Hearts will keep him out of this one and we will see where we stand with him on Tuesday.  Other than that I have a full squad to choose from and although I have to make an enforced change with Sean out, I would like to keep as much continuity as possible.  However I do have options and I will consider all aspects before team selection is made overnight.”
The Jags have won widespread praise for the level of football played this year and the gaffer admitted that he was delighted to hear the positive comments coming the team’s way but is not that surprised about their level of performance:
“It doesn’t come as any shock to me how they are playing.  The one thing was at the forefront of my mind was whether they had the confidence to play the way they are playing, I never doubted their ability.  They have shown that they have the mettle to compete at this level and it is vital that they do their best to maintain that level.  I believe that they can do, I am wise enough to know that there will be setbacks along the way but hopefully they will continue to entertain the way they have been up to now.”

Match Report

Motherwell v Partick Thistle – 24th August 2013

Thistle’s long unbeaten came to an end as they lost out to a solitary Motherwell goal at Fir Park.
Alan Archibald was forced to make a change to the starting eleven with Sean Welsh out injured – Isaac Osbourne made his first Premiership start for Thistle, with Gabriel Piccolo taking his place on the bench.
It was Motherwell, shooting towards the Thistle fans, who dominated most of a quiet first half, pressing high up the pitch, and not allowing the Thistle midfield any time to settle.
James McFadden was prominent for the home side, but the early stages of this game are best described as uneventful.
Twenty minutes were on the clock when John Sutton was on hand to collect Zaine Francis-Angol’s cross-come-shot and his well struck shot left Scott Fox with little chance.
Thistle continued to struggle, and it was Motherwell who came closest to scoring again when Fox dived to his right to superbly parry Henri Anier’s fiercely struck shot away from goal.  Kris Doolan endured a lonely time up front, as he continued to be starved of any service.
Motherwell started the second half where they left off, with an Anier shot and a McFadden header both well off target, but quickly Thistle came more into the game.
Isaac Osbourne hit a long-range shot straight at Hollis before the introduction of Kallum Higginbotham, replacing Gary Fraser, really sparked Thistle into life.
A spell of sustained pressure followed, but without many clear cut chances falling Thistle’s way – a Taylor-Sinclair cross was knocked wide by a stretching Stephen O’Donnell, while shots from Higginbotham, Craigen and Taylor-Sinclair were well blocked by the Motherwell defence.
Motherwell threatened on the break, but only once was Scott Fox called into making a save, blocking a Keith Lasley shot from 12 yards with his feet.
Higginbotham hit the wall with a free kick from 30 yards after Stevie Lawless was upended and Aaron Muirhead fired over after he found himself in space just outside the box.
Ross Forbes, who had replaced the tiring Osbourne, became involved in a lot of Thistle’s play towards the end of the game – a shot from distance was diverted by John Baird, but Hollis was able to gather comfortably.  Shortly after, Baird controlled a diagonal ball from Forbes, but his shot lacked power and was easily saved.
McFadden had another couple of chances but wasn’t able to trouble the Thistle goal with either – James Craigen getting back to make the tackle after was he clear on goal, and McFadden shooting wide after Stuart Bannigan had been dispossessed.
The final chance fell to Aaron Muirhead, but he was unable to direct his header from Ross Forbes’ corner towards goal, and despite a much improved second half performance from the visitors, Motherwell held on for all three points.
Thistle have an early opportunity to get back to winning ways when Cowdenbeath visit Firhill for a League Cup second round tie on Tuesday evening.

Match Reaction

Motherwell v Partick Thistle – 24th August 2013

Alan Archibald lost his first game over 90 minutes as Thistle boss yesterday as Thistle went down 1-0 to Motherwell at Fir Park. The manager described his feeling after the match as “horrible” when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk

We started off asking him how he was feeling:

“It’s horrible, it doesn’t feel good to be honest. It was always going to come, it was only a matter of time and we knew that was going to be the case, so that’s not really important. It’s the manner of the defeat that was more hurting to be honest.”

Motherwell had control of the game in the first half as Thistle struggled to get a foothold into the game.  The manager thought that was a lot to do with the pressure of Motherwell.

“I think they pressed us high up the pitch and that’s what teams will do to us now because they know we like to pass the ball. We need to react better than that and learn. We need to play the game at our tempo,  I thought we played the game at Motherwell’s tempo and couldn’t get into the game first half.”

Second half Thistle came more into the match and laid siege on the Motherwell goal and Alan was pleased with the way his team played.

“I thought second half we started to play the game at our tempo and how we like to play and that’s why the game got stretched and it suited us better.

I thought Kallum helped change the game, he came on and not only did he make an impact but the way the whole team went about their business was better – the demeanour of the team changed.”

The Jags are back in action on Tuesday night when Cowdenbeath are the visitors to Firhill in the League cup and there are likely to be some changes in the team.

“I think we will have to make a few changes for the match on Tuesday, there’s a few boys in there struggling but we will treat it as a premiership match, we want to do well in the cups too – we’ve not had much of a run in the League Cup recently.”

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