SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 17 February, 2018. Kick Off: - 15:00
The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill
HOME Ticket prices(Jackie Husband and North Stands):
Concessions (Over 65s, students, disabled supporter including carer) £15
Under 16s FREE
AWAY Ticket prices(Colin Weir Stand):
Concessions (Over 65s, students, disabled supporter including carer) £15
Under 16s £5
Match Ball Sponsor:
Callum Booth and Mustapha Dumbuya
Opens to all supporters at 11:45
Half Time Legend performing 50/50 draw:
Find out what is inside Saturday’s issue
Available around The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill for only £3
After a brief break from league duty the Jags return to Ladbrokes Premiership action on Saturday as Dundee make the trip to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. The match marks the first of three games for Thistle that could prove crucial in determining the shape of the rest of the season.
Although Alan Archibald is never one to place too much emphasis on one fixture, it’s fair to say that he is well aware of just how big a fixture Saturday’s is and he made this clear when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk after training on Friday afternoon.
“They are certainly an interesting set of games. It’s three big fixtures but I’m probably just saying the same as the other managers of the teams we are going to play in the coming weeks. They are winnable games but they are the proverbial six pointers too and against teams that we’ll probably end up playing again in the bottom six.
“A lot of where you end up in the league come the end of the season is determined by how you do against the teams around you in the table. These kinds of runs can make or break a season. Winning fixtures like these can give you a massive lift and you don’t need to worry about what is going on in other games – it keeps everything in your own hands. It gives us the chance to go as high as eighth I think but the flip side of that is that it gives Dundee a chance to pull away from us so the implications really are huge.
“We just take the games one at a time and look to put everything we have into each 90 minutes. It’s an old adage but it really is all you can do.”
Much has been made of Thistle’s experience last term proving valuable reassurance for the side as they plough well into the second half of the season. Although Archibald is tentative to draw too much on that experience, he does recognise the value of knowing what it takes.
“We went on a good run around this time last year and it makes a massive difference. If you can get back to back wins in this league it makes a big difference and gives you that all important momentum. It’s amazing just what a difference a few points can make in this league, it’s ever so tight and it doesn’t take much to see a team move right up the table.
“Every season is different though and we can’t rely on previous experience to get us where we need to be this term. The playoff and the split has certainly added a bit of excitement to the league but it’s horrible for you when you’re involved with it.
“The biggest thing about making the top six last year was that you weren’t involved in the scrap and the way it has been the last three or four years has meant that every team involved in the bottom six can get dragged right into that battle and it looks like it’s going to be the same this year.”
With a win potentially taking Thistle as high as eighth in the table it really is the same story as recent seasons in terms of how tight the table looks. That being said, the Jags boss insists that there really isn’t anything between most of the teams in the league.
“It really is a game of inches. Outside of the top four or five teams there really isn’t much between the teams and it tends to just come down to who turns up on the day. I think you saw that on Tuesday night when Dundee were probably the better team for a long period of the game but Kilmarnock were outstanding when they went down to 10 men and that changed the game. You’ve seen it in a number of our games this season as well. The best example of that was probably the last time we played Dundee here when they were the better side and we hit them with a bit of a smash and grab to take all three points. It’s fine, fine margins.
With player returning from injury on a seemingly daily basis, Archie looked genuinely pleased to be able to pass on more positive news on the fitness front.
“We’re in a really strong position this week. We’ve got Stevie Lawless coming back after he just missed out for the Celtic game. Paul McGinn is suspended but other than that the only players who will still be out is Christie Elliott and Stuart Bannigan. Even Christie though has made real progress and played 45 minutes in a Development League Game on Tuesday so he is probably only a couple of weeks away from coming back into full contention after four months out with a fractured ankle.”
More exclusive preview interviews with Callum Booth, Mustapha Dumbuya and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are now available to Jagzone subscribers – log in to see them. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game.
Can’t make The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone World members (outside the UK and Ireland) can watch the game live – the stream is also available on a PPV basis.
Jagzone members can also listen to live audio commentary of the match.
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Article Copyright © 2018. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.
Minimum of 3 minutes additional time to be played.
An unorthodox clearance from Cerny gets the ball clear.
Nearly 2-0 for Thistle as Parish makes an excellent stop with his legs to deny Erskine.
Dundee clear the corner and try and break. Their progress is halted though by Edwards who then lashes a shot well wide of goal.
After a hanging cross to the back post from Booth a Woods' shot smacks off a defender.
Thistle clear the corner and then try and break quickly through Storey but the ball goes out for a Dundee throw. The visitors have been the better side second half.
Good chance for Dundee. Moussa is able to knock the ball down. Murray steals onto the loose ball at the back post but can't keep his effort from 6 yards out down and the ball spins high and wide.
Sammon tries to get on the end of a pass from Erskine but can't quite get the ball under control.
Deserved lead for Thistle with Conor Sammon poking home an Edwards assist from close range with half-time fast approaching.
Aurtenetxe has too much space on the left but Keown heads clear.
It's the Fish again and he pokes the ball home from close range to give Thistle a deserved lead.
Deacon shoots wide from about 20 yards out.
Another chance for Thistle. Erskine nods the ball down to Booth who sees his effort blocked.
Thistle come forward down the left and Booth sends over a great cross. It's too high for Sammon but Erskine just behind him gets his head to it but he is under pressure and can't direct the header on target.
Nearly an opening goal for Thistle as the ball breaks to Woods. He instinctively knocks the ball goalwards but it is straight at Parish.
Erskine and Sammon combine but just as things are looking like opening up for Sammon a Dundee defender gets across top make an important challenge.
First direct effort on goal for Thistle as Storey finds space outside the box. His shot doesn't present Parish with any real difficulty though.
A Dumbuya cross from the right aimed for the back post drifts away. Thistle have been getting into some promising positions on the right hand side.
First shot at goal comes from Dundee's Deacon. It's straight at Cerny but there is enough power in the shot that means Cerny has to push the ball clear.
Dumbuya wins the ball deep inside the Dundee half. He passes to Erskine whose cross is cleared.
Woods plays his corner in low. It finds Erskine who has a little space but his shot hits a defender and the ball is cleared.
It's back to league action this afternoon and Alan Archibald makes 4 changes from the side that exited the Scottish Cup last weekend.
Into the starting eleven come Mustapha Dumbuya, who replaces the suspended Paul McGinn, Niall Keown, Conor Sammon and Miles Storey.
Dropping to the bench are Blair Spittal, Adam Barton and Daniel Devine.