SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 27 February, 2016. 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, looking to extend the winning streak to three games.
Thistle have the better of the head to head against Motherwell, but the recent record at Fir Park is poor with Thistle not winning at the ground for over 20 years. Since being promoted to the Premiership, Thistle have lost each of the four 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 supporters should note there is significant roadworks underway at the Raith Interchange and Thistle fans should leave extra time for their journey in case of delay.
Pubs & Eating
Motherwell town 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!
Thistle are busy preparing for another tough Ladbrokes Premiership game, just a few days after a Firhill success against St Johnstone. Ptfc.co.uk caught up with manager Alan Archibald to get his views on another vitally important game.
“Tuesday night’s win against St Johnstone was a great platform for us. We’d been sidelined for a couple of weeks due to the weather and everyone in the ground could see that the players were desperate for a game. They got stronger as the match wore on and we grabbed a couple of great goals to seal the three points.
“That game is in the past now and we’re all focused on the challenge of Motherwell tomorrow. We only played them a couple of weeks ago in a game that was very, very close. I think we just about edged it and deserved to claim the three points when Steven Lawless scored in injury time. Motherwell will be keen to get revenge for that defeat, which I think was a very sore from their point of view.”
Thistle haven’t had a win at Fir Park since January 1996 and Alan is confident his side have the quality to break another hoodoo.
“Since we’ve come up to the Premiership we’ve broken a number of lengthy droughts in terms of away games and we’re hoping Fir Park is the next hoodoo to fall. The players have done it before and they’ll do it again. In order to beat Motherwell tomorrow we’ll have to be at our best. They are a side with a lot of quality players who have a tremendous amount of experience.
“We know if we win that we will move five points ahead of them, with games in hand over them, which would be a great position to put ourselves in. We’d have a bit of breathing space over the sides below us and there would be an opportunity for us to look further up the table rather than over our shoulders. We’re aware that Motherwell will overtake us with a win and that will fire them up to keep the three points at Fir Park.”
Thistle face a grueling spell of games in the near future and Alan knows he’ll have to utilise all his squad to get through all the matches.
“We’ve now got a squad with quality all through it. We had a spell where we had to put youngsters on the bench, but now we can fill it with experienced first team players. We’ll have to use all of our squad to get through the busy period ahead. The players who were selected on Tuesday played really well but it’s great to have options as we know there will be an element of rotation over the next few weeks.”
Finally we concluded with team news ahead of tomorrow’s match.
“Other than Dumbuya we have pretty much a full strength team. Muzzy is still struggling and we just need to be patient with him. Lawless had a stiff back after Tuesday night and Gary Miller took a knock to his knee but both should be OK for Saturday.”
Thistle travelled to Fir Park looking to gain a first victory at the Lanarkshire ground in over 20 years against a Motherwell side that had not played since losing at St Johnstone last Saturday. Thistle had beaten the same opposition at Firhill on Tuesday night with an encouraging, strong performance to climb to 8th in the Ladbrokes Premiership table.
It was perhaps the good performance from Tuesday night that prompted manager Alan Archibald to make just the one change to the starting line-up. Kris Doolan, who netted such a quick opener after coming on as a substitute was preferred to Mathias Pogba with the rest of the side instructed to repeat their performances from Tuesday night.
The game got off to a slow start with not much in the way of goalmouth action in the opening stages. Doolan did take advantage of a slack Motherwell pass in the second minute but after the ball was played wide to Booth, the full back was unable to win even a corner with his cross as it went behind for goal kick.
Motherwell were showing plenty of passing movement, but Thistle weren’t challenged in a defensive area in the forgettable opening 20 minutes of a match.
Osman and Booth both fired crosses into a penalty area where plenty of Thistle players made the run into the box, sadly from a Thistle perspective the deflection proved helpful for Ripley in the Motherwell goal.
Aidan Nesbitt, so impressive on Tuesday night, showed a couple of flashes of his potential but after a run into the Motherwell half, fired wide of the post from just outside the box.
Motherwell did have the ball in the net after 27 minutes when Louis Moult knocked home after being set up by Scott McDonald. The prolific striker was, correctly, ruled offside.
Thistle were growing into the game, but in truth the match was a poor one and it was from a Thistle mistake that Motherwell took the lead. Lasley made a run into a wide area of the penalty and was tracked by Aidan Nesbitt, sadly for the loanee he clipped the veteran Motherwell player and referee, Finnie, pointed to the spot. Louis Moult made no mistake from the spot and sent Tomas Cerny the wrong way to fire Motherwell into the lead.
It was very close to a second goal moments later when Scott McDonald burst into the Thistle box, before picking out Cadden on the right hand side. The young winger skipped past Booth before firing a low cross which was evaded by everyone in the six yard box. Motherwell were well on top as the first half came to a close and Thistle were relieved at just the one goal deficit.
Thistle made a half time change with Nesbitt being replaced by Mathias Pogba as Alan Archibald looked to beef up his attack which had failed to test Ripley during the first half. The striker made an immediate impact playing the ball wide to Miller but his cross, like so many, was comfortable for Ripley.
The second goal did arrive but it was a second for Motherwell. Scott McDonald broke away from a throw in and was able to slip the ball to Moult, who had far too much space inside the penalty area and he made no mistake to fire the ball powerfully past Cerny.
Thistle were working hard trying to get back in the game and Doolan had a powerful driven cross punched away by Ripley as Pogba looked set to pounce on the loose ball. There was a lack of creativity as Thistle struggled to get back into the game. Motherwell continued to pose a threat on the break and McDonald was close to adding a third when McDonald got on the end of Steven Hammell’s free kick but was unable to find the target with his effort.
As Thistle looked to get back into the game, Callum Booth fizzed a low drive into the box which was cleared by a Motherwell defender off the hands of Ripley. Motherwell countered on the break, Marvin Johnson cut in from the right hand side and fired past the helpless Cerny to put Motherwell into a 3-0 lead.
Thistle were falling apart at the back and it could have been more with a hungry Motherwell keen to punish the side on every occasion. McDonald saw the ball fall to him inside the box, but his shot was pushed away by Cerny for a corner kick. From the resulting corner, McManus forced another tremendous save from Thistle’s goalkeeper as the ball sat up for him to volley from 10 yards out.
Thistle grabbed a goal back with 15 minutes remaining when Callum Booth fired a deflected effort past Ripley from 20 yards, finally breaking his goalscoring duck for Thistle with his first strike for the club.
There was hope for a comeback and Amoo went on a mazy run deep into the Motherwell half just moments later. With good support alongside him, he elected to shoot with his shot being blocked for a Thistle corner kick.
Thistle continued pushing forward, with Amoo looking very lively in his substitute appearance but Motherwell were able to contain and soak up the pressure as the minutes closed out.
Despite three additional minutes of time, Thistle didn’t look like troubling the Motherwell rear guard in the closing stages and the 979 Thistle fans who made the trek to Fir Park went home very disappointed.
Thistle manager, Alan Archibald, cut a disappointed figure when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk shortly after the full time whistle at FirPark. The game signalled the end of Thistle’s recent run of good form as the team in red and yellowfell to a 3-1 defeat.
“It’s bitterly disappointing to lose that game after the run of form we’ve been on. We can have no complaints about it though, Motherwell were the better side and thoroughly deserved the three points.
“All of the things we’ve been doing well over the last few months we didn’t do well at all today. In the first half, we were second best and we changed our shape at half time to try and get back into it. When it went to 3-0 it killed us, as you’re always in the game at 2-0 and getting a goal back gives you a chance to get back into it.”
Thistle fell behind due to a first half penalty by Louis Moult and Archie had no qualms about the decision.
“It’s a penalty. It’s unfortunate because Aidan has done what we’ve asked of him and tracked Lasley into the box, but he’s clipped him. We replaced him at half time, not down to his performance, but due to our system not working. It’s something he’ll have to learn from, but he’s one of the boys so I’m sure he’ll come out of it as a better player.”Thistle conceded two second half goals which meant they trailed by three, something Alan was very disappointed with.
“It’s annoying to concede a couple of poor goals as we’ve been defensively great for long parts of the season. The second goal comes from a throw in, while the third is a breakaway after we’ve been on the attack. If we were only two goals down by the time Booth grabs a goal back, then we maybe make them a lot more nervous, but to come back from three goals is an enormous ask and one that proved too big for us this afternoon.
”Callum Booth grabbed his first Jags goal today and the gaffer was pleased to see him off the mark.
“It’s been a long time coming from Callum. He’s been great for us this season, playing every match and he’s been desperate to score. He has the confidence to strike the ball from the edge ofthe box and has been unlucky in the past. Fortunately, today it has taken a nick and squirmed into the net. It’s just a shame his first goal for the club wasn’t more than a consolation.”
With a trip to Perth just days away, Alan is determined that his squad won’t feel sorry for themselves and will seek to return to winning ways once again, quickly.
“With the nature of our fixture backlog, we’ve got games every few days so if we can get a good result on Wednesday then today’s result will have been forgotten. We’ll have everybody in on Monday and we’ll look to see how everyone is before starting to prepare for our trip to Perth on Wednesday night.”