SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 26 September, 2015. Kick Off: - 15:00
Fir Park, Motherwell.
Thistle make the short trip along the motorway to take on Motherwell in the latest fixture of the 2015/16 Ladbrokes Premiership season, still looking for the coveted first win of the season.
Thistle have the better of the head to head against Motherwell, but the recent record at Fir Park is poor with Thistle coming up for the 20th anniversary of our last triumph there. Since being promoted to the Premiership, Thistle have lost each of the three league games played at Fir Park by a single goal.
Any Thistle supporter who has travelled to Fir Park will be familiar with the Maxim Office Park Stand which is allocated to away supporters. Thistle fans will, as usual, be located in this stand
Prices for the away end are as follows;
Concessions (Over 60, Students in Full Time Education): £16
Juvenile(15 and under):£12
Family(1 Adult and 1 Juvenile):£29
Motherwell is well served with transport links with Thistle fans able to reach the Lanarkshire town on trains and buses from Glasgow. The M74 motorway also passes close by for those travelling by car.
Motherwell has two train stations with Motherwell Train Station sitting in the centre of the town. Airbles is a lot closer to Fir Park and is around a 15 minute walk to the ground.
Trains leave Glasgow Central Lower Level at :06 and :36 past the hour, with the 14:06 from Glasgow arriving at Airbles at 14:37 giving you just over 20 minutes to make the trek up the hill towards the stadium. A return for the train gives you change from a fiver.
Heading back to Glasgow and trains leave Airbles at 17:18, 17:38 and 17:48 so there is plenty of choice after the game has concluded, and hopefully three points for Thistle to celebrate!
North West Bus
Milngavie Station: 13:15
Esquire Anniesland: 13:30
Maryhill CC Halls: 13:45
Full Fare: £11.00
(School aged children, unwaged adults, senior citizens, matriculated students)
For seats call 0141 632 3604 before 9:00 pm or e-mail
City Centre Bus
Station bar: 12:30
Non members welcome, to book call Duncan on 07979496154
To make a booking contact Alistair on 07817612563 /. Booking is essential. For general enquiries contact Iain on 07779668357 / .
It’s a simple drive to Motherwell from Firhill with a couple of options depending on where you live in the City.
From the southside the easier option would be to join the M74 from the M8 just south of the Kingston Bridge and following the motorway along to the junction for Motherwell.
From the north side, fans may be quicker to head along the M8 to the M73 before joining the M74.
Upon leaving the M74, Thistle fans should take the right turn at the traffic lights, at the junction of Strathclyde Park and follow the road up. The ground will appear on the right hand side of the road. On street parking is aplenty in this area of Motherwell.
Thistle fans should note that Celtic are at home to Hearts, kick off at 3pm, and as such some motorway junctions may be more congested than normal.
There is also significant roadworks underway at the Raith Interchange and Thistle fans should leave extra time for their journey in case of delay.
Pubs & Eating
Motherwell city centre has plenty of pubs to enjoy a couple of pints pre-match. The Railway Tavern is located just around the corner from Motherwell Train Station and sits next to a fish and chip shop, should you feel hungry on the way to the stadium.
Approaching from Airbles gives significantly more limited options. The Electric Bar, to the left of the station, is a convenient pub serving the usual brands of lager you’d expect in a pleasant establishment. Heading closer to the ground presents the option of Jack Daniels pub. Simply walk up the hill and turn left at the roundabout for this pre-match option.
Motherwell has a vast range of food outlets, mainly in the town centre, but if you are heading back to Airbles to make your way back to Glasgow, there is a spar close to the train station for that snack, or post-match refreshment, to enjoy on the train journey home!
In the week since Thistle travelled back pointless from Dingwall, manager Alan Archibald has been able to add a new player to his squad and Alan was delighted to secure him when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk earlier today.
“Ryan’s got a good pedigree. He’s been training with us for last week or so and looked good. He can play in behind the striker and in any of the attacking roles. He doesn’t turn 22 until November so has lots of energy and we’ll hope he can get beyond the striker and link up. We’re just waiting for International clearance to see if he can take part tomorrow.
Being bottom of the table isn’t where any Thistle player or fan wants to be, but spirits are high in the camp.
“The spirits were down on Monday. We watched the game again and saw where we can improve. As the week has went on we have trained well and the confidence has come back. Nobody likes to be bottom of the league and this weekend gives us an opportunity to get back in amongst the pack”
Alan’s former team-mate will be in the opposing dugout following a week of turmoil for Motherwell making them dangerous opponents.
“Motherwell are slightly unknown. Stephen Craigan will take charge and will bring his own ideas to the job. We need to concentrate on ourselves, and keep making chances in front of goal. We haven’t done too much wrong, it’s just finishing the chances off which is severely lacking. The longer a game is goalless, and we’ve missed a couple of opportunities, the defence gets nervy and the opposition will always have a chance in the game.
“We’ve been starting games well, battering teams at points but we just haven’t taken the chances. Last year we had lots of midfielders popping up with goals, rather than one player netting 20 goals. We’re missing those goals so far, but it’s all about continuing to create chances and having a wee bit of luck in front of goal.”
It’s a case of same again for Alan when it comes to picking his matchday squad.
“Christie Elliott and Gary Fraser are still out. Liam Lindsay has recovered from the illness which saw him drop out last Saturday. Pogba isn’t too far away, he’s been training all week and we’ll give him every chance.”
Thistle travelled to Fir Park to take on a managerless Motherwell side still seeking the elusive first victory of season, having not scored a goal in over a month. Motherwell, sitting in 10th place prior to kick off, presented an opportunity for Thistle to close the gap between themselves and their opponents.
Thistle made one change to the side which lost narrowly to Ross County last weekend with Robbie Muirhead, who had impressed in each of his first two appearances came into the side at the expense of Ryan Stevenson, who was joined on the bench by Mathias Pogba.
Both teams started in a nervy fashion but it was Motherwell who had the first glimpse of goal when McDonald pounced on a slack Bannigan pass. He slipped in Johnson who saw his shot well saved by Cerny. After a sluggish opening ten minutes, Thistle came into the game strongly but were restricted to efforts from distance that failed to trouble Ripley in the ‘Well goal.
Muirhead was next to have a chance when he connected with Welsh’s free kick but his header glanced over the bar. It was Motherwell, however, who broke the deadlock. Ainsworth picked up the ball wide on the right and skipped past the challenge of Booth. With two attackers lurking at the back post, the ball was met by Frans who could only divert the ball high into his own net.
Thistle were spurred into a greater sense of urgency and Lawless became the latest player to be denied by the woodwork when he collected the ball on the edge of the box and saw his low effort smash off the post.
Welsh was next to advance into the ‘Well penalty box, taking a tumble under a Motherwell challenge, appealing in vain for Thistle’s first penalty in over a year.
Motherwell were close to doubling their lead minutes into the second half as Lionel Ainsworth went on a run through the Thistle team. He was denied by an excellent save from Tomas Cerny, adding another fine stop to his already growing collection.
Thistle introduced Kevin Nisbet and Mathias Pogba to add some more attacking threat to Thistle’s play but the second goal of the game came at the other end. A poor pass from Seaborne put Frans under pressure and, under significant pressure from a pressing Motherwell attacker, his clearance only landed his clearance at the feet of Keith Lasley. He sprayed a pass wide right to Ainsworth who’s cross found McDonald unmarked in the box. Cerny did well to save his initial header but the rebound landed at the feet of the striker to poke the ball into the back of the net.
Thistle were able to get a goal back into the game when Amoo was able to head home from close range following a knock down from Sean Welsh’s corner. With just over 10 minutes left in the game, Thistle threw everything they had at Motherwell with Kevin Nisbet coming closest to grabbing an equaliser with his shot from just outside the box, bouncing off the post with Ripley beaten.
Despite five minutes of injury time, Thistle were unable to find that coveted equaliser and will have to spend another week at the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
It was a disappointed Alan Archibald that spoke to ptfc.co.uk shortly after the full time whistle this afternoon.
“I thought we deserved a point on the basis of our performance.That said, the goals we conceded were very, very poor. The first one comes with the ball going wide on the right to the winger, he beats Callum Booth and is able to fire the ball into the six yard box. Freddie gets his feet muddled up and it goes into the back of his net. The second one comes from our possession in our own half and is just a catalogue of mistakes.
“We talked about the importance of scoring the first goal and I felt we started the game stronger, even if we didn’ t really have any clear cut chances in front of goal. Lawless has glanced a header just over the bar before they go up the park and scoreand it’ s killing us.“
Alan was happy with the spirit shown by the players to keep fighting and trying to get themselves back into the game in the late stages.
“The lads showed a lot of character and belief to get themselves back into the game. We pushed Motherwell hard in the closing stages but it just wasn’ t to be. We’ ve hit the post twice again today and it’ s starting to become frustrating. We need one of those to hit the post and flash into the net.”
It’ s another big week for Thistle as we prepare to host 11th placed Dundee United at Firhill next week, with the opportunity to go above them in the table.
“We’ ll have to go back to basics this week. We’ ll look at the game, the only real positive we can take is the fact we scored a goal, so hopefully the win is the next record to go. We’ ll go into a week of training where we know the boys will work ever so hard to get us out of the situation we are in. I believe Dundee United lost today and we have the chance to go above them with a win next week. That is all the motivation that the players should need. “
Alan knows it isn’ t an easy time for any Thistle fan with the support having little to cheer about but is confident that happier times are just around the corner.
“The fans were great today, they stuck with us as we concededtwo poor goals and they were willing us on in the closing stages when we got one back late on. We need them to stick with us as we look to get through this tough start to the season. We’ re in it together, through good times and bad, and everyone in the squad, starting with me and my coaching staff are giving it all we have to push us higher up the league where we want to be.”