William Hill Scottish Cup
Sat 3 November, 2012. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow
We’ve already reached one cup final this season, but as much as we are looking forward to next April’s Ramsdens Cup Final with Queen of the South, the Scottish Cup remains the number one cup competition in Scotland and we would dearly love to reach our first Final in 83 years next May.
A Hampden final though is a long, long way off at the moment and our search for Scottish Cup glory begins at Firhill tomorrow with the visit of Highland League Cove Rangers.
Tomorrow’s match is the first competitive fixture between the two sides and Cove make the journey down to Glasgow as the current Highland League leaders, albeit there are number of sides below them that could overtake them were they to win their games in hand.
With Thistle having had difficulty in overcoming Junior side Culter, who play their home games just 11 miles from Cove’s Allan Park, at this stage of last season’s competition nothing is being taken for granted ahead of tomorrow’s game.
Said Thistle manager Jackie McNamara when speaking to [link:HOME]
“It’s certainly not a tie that we will be taking lightly in any respect. It’s very important to us that we manage to get through to the next round. When we played Queen’s Park in the Ramsdens Cup we made a number of changes, but I don’t see us doing the same tomorrow. I want those players currently in possession of a first team jersey out on the park trying to make sure that they keep their place in the side for next week’s big game with Dunfermline Athletic.”
“Paul Slane won’t be involved but Ross County have given us clearance for Steven Craig to play. Stuart Bannigan will obviously not play following his injury last week, and Ryan Scully picked up a concussion during Tuesday night’s reserve game with Stenhousemuir. I’ll speak with the doctor and physio before we make a final decision on Ryan, but if he isn’t fit then James Wightman will sit on the bench tomorrow.”
“Cove are a relatively unknown side to us but one player at least is familiar to us. Ryan Stott played, and scored against us, for Culter at the same stage of last season’s competition. That game was away from home and I think that it is important that we are the home side tomorrow. We will be looking to make good use of the size and condition of the playing surface here at Firhill and make sure that we get through to the next round.”
“The Scottish Cup is a competition that we are desperate to do well in. In all the time that I have been at the Club, both as a manager and as a player, we’ve never had a particularly good draw. Last season, for example, we were paired with another First Division side, Queen of South, after we knocked out Culter. I would like nothing better to see us paired against opposition from the SPL, preferably here at Firhill. Before we can even start to think about that though, we need to defeat Cove Rangers.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W D L F A
2 2 1 10 4
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Chris Erskine 8
Steven Lawless 7
Kris Doolan 6
Steven Craig 5
Stuart Bannigan 2
Aaron Muirhead 2
Sean Welsh 2
Christie Elliott 1
Ross Forbes 1
Aaron Sinclair 1
Own Goal 1
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday October 27th 2012
Falkirk 0, Partick Thistle 0
Cove Rangers Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W D L F A
3 0 2 11 5
Press and Journal Highland League
Saturday October 20th 2012
Cove Rangers 5, Rothes 0
William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round
Saturday November 3rd 2012
Partick Thistle v Cove Rangers
Concessions (over 65s, under 16 and disabled): £5
Season tickets are not valid for the fixture.
Referee: Mike Tumilty
Assistant Referees: Raymond Whyte and David Lowe
William Hill Scottish Cup Third Round
Buckie Thistle v Turriff United
Dumbarton v East Stirling
Airdrie United v Raith Rovers
Stranraer v Queen’s Park
Forfar Athletic v Nairn County
Albion Rovers v Morton
Cowdenbeath v Vale of Leithen
Edinburgh City v Queen of the South
Stirling Albion v Deveronvale
Inverurie Loco Works v Arbroath
Ayr United v Clachnacuddin
Stenhousemuir v Berwick Rangers
Brechin City v Bonnyrigg Rose
Rangers v Alloa Athletic
Elgin City v East Fife
Thistle managed to reach round four of the Scottish Cup but what started off like looking like a being a routine and comfortable victory became a little more uncomfortable, especially in the second half.
The Highland league side settled quite well but Thistle very quickly took control and in truth the opening goal, which arrived in the 13th minute, had been coming for some time.
Stephen O’Donnell hasn’t, as yet, opened his scoring account for the season but he was close to doing so when a run down the right took him into the Cove box. A finger tip save from McKenzie though prevented the full-back from finding the net.
The Cove keeper though could do little about Ross Forbes opener. Forbes was central to much of what Thistle produced during the first half and it was fitting that he opened the scoring with a curling effort from the left corner of the Cove box.
Thistle continued to dominate proceedings a second goal looked inevitable as Cove become increasingly hemmed in their own half. There was a shock in store for Thistle in the 27th minute when they found themselves reduced to ten men. Steven Craig was fouled by Eric Watson and despite winning the free kick appeared to aim a kick at the Cove player and after consulting with his Jackie Husband side assistant, referee Tumility showed Craig the red card. A sending off that, if deemed violent conduct, will keep him out of the team to play Dunfermline.
Despite being a man short, Thistle continued to dominate. Aaron Sinclair saw a header tipped over the bar by McKenzie before Thistle scored a second goal in the 37th minute. Stephen O’Donnell’s cross, with Kris Doolan in close attention, was headed into his own net by Alan Redford. It remains to be seen whether Kris can claim the goal as his own.
A third goal before the break would surely have sealed the win for Thistle and Conrad Balatoni should have done better than shoot over the bar when presented with the opportunity to score that third goal in the 42nd minute.
Until Thistle could score a third goal the game continued to have the potential to be an uncomfortable one for Thistle and Cove were handed, or were they, a route back into the match. Cove had two earlier, rather optimistic, appeals for penalties turned down but when a shot in the 59th minute appeared to smack into the chest of Conrad Balatoni, referee Tumility this time decided to point to the spot.
Danny Milne, just on as a sub for Cove, took the kick and his tame effort was saved by Scott Fox to his right.
With 17 minutes of a match that was, if not uncomfortable exactly, one that Thistle were desperate to see to a conclusion, Chris Erskine missed a fine chance to finally remove any doubt over who would reach the next round. Paul Slane’s pass set up Erskine whose angled drive was just wide of goal.
Included in the Cove side was Ryan Stott, who scored Culter’s goal against Thistle in last season’s competition, and the Cove sub nearly found the net against Thistle once more. With the game starting to near its’ conclusion he was able to get away from Stephen O’Donnell but Scott Fox was able to produce a smart save to keep the Thistle goal intact.
Fox though was beaten with four minutes of the game remaining with Cove scoring the goal of the game. Danny Milne, whose effort from the penalty spot had been so poor, found no difficulty in finding the net from fully 30 yards out.
Thistle though should very quickly have restored their two goal advantage. Christie Elliott did well to tee up Aaron Sinclair who with time and space couldn’t hit target from 12 yards out.
‘Objective obtained’ would pretty much sum up yesterday’s Scottish Cup tie with Cove Rangers. The important thing in cup-ties is to make sure you reach the next round no matter how you do that and Thistle did precisely that yesterday afternoon.
In many ways it was a professional, if unspectacular performance, but one of the major talking points after the game was the 27th minute sending off of Steven Craig.
When speaking to [link:HOME] after the game yesterday manager Jackie McNamara, like everyone else, was in no doubt that it was a red card offence.
“It was a sending off. It was the linesman that spotted it; he seemed to see everything okay in the first half. We can’t complain about it though. Steven has just been petulant. The Cove boy has fallen on top of him and he’s just stuck out a boot and caught him. Steven’s an experienced player and he knows that he’s been silly. It’s disappointing that it not just had an impact on today’s game but will also impact upon next week’s game with Dunfermline which is a crucial game for us.”
Even with ten men Jackie feels that his side should have pressed home the advantage that Ross Forbes 13th minute goal had given them.
“On another day we could have scored more goals. Baring their goal and the penalty I think Cove only had one other shot on goal. The one thing that disappointed me today was the fact that I didn’t think that the front players were at their game today. I thought that they had opportunities to turn and get at them in the first half but I thought that they were a bit quick to get rid of the ball rather than taking responsibility themselves.”
“Things can go against you in a game but we should still have killed them off at 2-0 even though we were down to ten men. They’ve got a lift from us not taking our chances and then they got another lift with the penalty. It was never a penalty. The ball clearly struck Conrad on the chest but the referee seemed to see something different from the rest of us.”
“Getting through today was the most important thing. I said to the players at half-time to make sure that they didn’t give anything away and make sure that they kept passing the ball. The good thing is that we got through, the disappointing thing is that we have lost Steven Craig for next week. Stuart Bannigan is still struggling as well and we’re still waiting for confirmed results on Sean Welsh’s injury although the good thing about Sean’s injury is that as far as we know it isn’t a break.”