SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Wed 28 December, 2016. Kick Off: - 19:45
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow
Alan Archibald was able to take a bit of time to relax over Christmas, following his side’s convincing victory in the Highlands last week. The hard work started again this week though, and the gaffer is determined to keep the run going.
“We were really delighted with the result against County, especially the nature of the goals. We played some really good stuff. I think that kind of result has been coming to be fair because we have played well and just haven’t managed to take our chances in recent games. The result was so important though because it was becoming a case of the same old story in terms of us playing well and not getting the result.
“We’d had a tough run of games leading into the game at Dingwall and, although we had played well in most of the games, we didn’t come away with the points we wanted or deserved. We’ve got another game against a team near us in the league on Wednesday night and we need to take the confidence and belief we took out of the County game into Dundee.”
A win on Wednesday night will see Archie’s team leapfrog the Dens Park side, the importance of which the Jags boss is not going to underestimate.
“We haven’t been good enough against the teams around us in the table, especially at home. We really want to get back to winning ways at Firhill this weekend because we simply have not been good enough on our home turf.
“It’s important that we consolidate and build on the result against County. It’s more important than ever given how tight the league is and we want to be going into the winter break not looking at the table and being bottom. I think it’s going to be nip and tuck all season and it’s ever so important that we pick up points in key games like these.”
Thistle will come up against a Dundee side on a fine run of form, a run that began when the Jags recorded a 2-0 victory at Dens Park earlier in the season.
“We did well up at Dens and ever since then they’ve changed their system and it seems to be working well for them. They got a great comeback the other night and we know exactly how tough it’s going to be. Having said that, we’re in a really good place just now and there is a lot of confidence in the camp. We just need to go out on Wednesday night and play as we know we can, if we do that then we have a right good chance of building further on recent performances.”
Alan Archibald gave a more in depth interview to the Jagzone cameras. Log in now to see it. Jagzone member will also be able to watch highlights of the game soon after full time on Wednesday night.
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Thistle move up to sixth position in the Premiership thanks to an excellent 2-0 win over Dundee.
The two goals both came in the first half. Callum Booth thumping home a free kick in the 16th minute and Kris Doolan netting the second with half-time just two minutes away.
Dundee who hadn't caused Cerny any problems in the opening 45 minutes were more of a threat in the second half but Cerny again was largely untroubled and this was a richly deserved 3 points.
Wighton's effort goes well wide of the Thistle goal.
Doolan back defending nods the ball back to the waiting Cerny.
Minimum of 4 additional minutes to e played.
Barton blocks Loy's shot.
thistle elect not to play the corner into the box and insteqd try and retain possession down by the corner flag and eventually concede a free kick.
Gadzhalov's shot is off target as thistle again show some nerves at the back.
Man of the Match: Ryan Edwards.
Thistle free kick at the left corner of the Dundee box.
Barton makes a good block right at the edge of the Thistle box.
There is an element of panic in the Thistle box before Gordon clears and earns Thistle a throw into the bargain.
Dundee are winning a lot of free kicks which is pushing Thistle onto the back foot at times.
Hateley chips a free kick into the Thistle box that goes harmlessly out of play for a goal kick.
Azeez gohits the ground inside the box and Thistle appeal for a penalty but referee Muir is uninterested.
Haber catches Osman late and collects a deserved yellow card.
Azeez fires in a cross from the rigjht that has far too much pace on it giving Doolan little chance of getting on thr end of the cross.
O'Dea's header from a ball played into the Thistle box doesn't present Cerny with any problems though Thistle may be concerned at the space O'Dea found inside the box.
Hateley's free kick is met by the head of Haber but his firm header lacks direction and Cerny has a routine save to make.
Dundee have a free kick in from the right touchline after Booth is late withnhis tackle.
Booth gets the ball over from the left after good work from Welsh but his cross is too near Bain who collects at his near post.
Azeez gets the ball caught under his feet as he tries to advance inside the Dundee box.
The energy that Edwards has shown tonight has been fantastic and he once again wins the ball in midfield. He is able to set up Welsh for a shot but he can't hit target and a decent opportunity is lost.
Just the one yellow card comes out and for Elliott who did look to push a Dundee player.
Things get heated adter a foul over on the Main Stand side of ther pitch. The referee has a bit of sorting out to do.
Thistle are on the back foot a little here. The free kick is aimed towards the back post. Firstly Devine heads clear and then Gordon when the ball is returned into the box. As Dundee retain possession Barton is the next Jag to head clear before theball goes out for a goal kick.
Dundee have a free kick midway inside the thistle half.
Barton calmly steps in to take the ball off El Bakhtaoui as he tries to find a way through the Thistle defence.
Best chance yet for Dundee. Holt forces his way into the Thistle box but his low shot is straight at Cerny.
Erskine isn't too far away from a third from Thistle with his effort from the corner of the box dipping just a shade too late and lands on the roof of the net.
Elliott delivers a low ball from the right into the Dundee box but is out of the reach of Doolan.
Booth's neat headed pass back is collected by Cerny.
Holt's effort from 25 yards out is both high and wide of the Thistle goal.
Doolan is able to square the ball to Erskine but Erskine's attempted pass to welsh to his left is poor and Dundee clear.
As expected Thistle have been forced into making a change at the break.
The Thistle fans are in full voice as the teams head in at the interval as goals from Callum Booth and Kris Doolan have helped Thistle establish a 2-0 half-team lead.
The first goal arrived in the 16th minute. Doolan was fouled on the edge of the Dundee box and it was Booth that thundered the resultant free kick into the back of the net.
Dundee enjoyed plenty of possession but Cerny was largely untroubled in the opening 45 minutes with Thistle a real threat on the break.
In one swift counter attack Erskine saw his shot blocked by Bain after he collected a pass from Edwards who had run almost the full length of the pitch with the ball.
A minute later though Thistle were celebrating a second goal. Erskine was again denied by Bain but Doolan was quickly onto the loose ball and he did well to tuck the ball home from a tight angle.
Thistle though may be forced into a change at the break with Lindsay hobbling off with an injury just before the break with Thistle not yet having brought on a sub to replace him.
Lindsay hobbles off after some treatment.
Thistle have a second goal and Doolan the 95th of his Thistle career.
Erskine sees his shot saved, but not held, by Bain and doolan is quickly onto the loose ball. He still has a lot to do and he does really well to tuck the ball home from a tight angle.
Thistle nearly atch Dundee with a classic counter attack. Edwards winds the ball just outside the Thistle box and surges forward with the ball. He slides a pass through to Erskine whose shot is blocked by Bain who is swiftly off his line.
Cerny makes an easy save from a curlng Holt shot.
Elliott's shot is saved by Bain after collecting a pass from Erskine after some excellent work in midfield from Welsh.
There is no way through the Dundee defence for Erskine after he collects a Welsh pass.
Devine makes an important clearance inside the Thistle 6 yard box.
Osman breaks up a Dundee attack at the edge of the box and his fouled as he tries to launch a counter attack.
Barton's long ball forward skips off the turf and away from Doolan allowing Bain to gather the ball.
Hateley takes the free kick. He makes clean enough contact with the ball but his effort clears the bar with a yard or so to spare.
It's a Dundee free kick about 2 yards outside the Thistle box and left of centre.
Cerny confidently claims a headed knock on as Dundee try and find an equaliser.
There are three Thistle players over the ball at the free kick, Barton, Welsh and Booth. It is Booth that takes it and his shot flies past Bain and into the net. Not a bads way foer the player to open his scoring account for the season.
Thistle have a free kick right on the edge of the Dundee box in a central position after a foul on Doolan.
No chances for either side yet but it has been a fairly lively opening spell of the game.
Elliott's cross spins off a defender into the path of Erskine. He nods the ball on but it is too far ahead of Doolan.
Cerny gathers an attempted through ball at the edge of his penalty box.
Dundee kick the game off. Thistle will be shooting towards the North Stand in the first half.
There is a clear incentive for Thistle this evening.
A Thistle victory would take The Jags above both Dundee, our opponents tonight, and Kilmarnock in the league table and, depending on their result away at Celtic, also above Ross County and into the top six in the Premiership.
Alan Archibald makes just the one change to the side that defeated Ross County 5 days ago. Adam Barton returns to the starting eleven and replaces Stevie Lawless who drops to the bench.
After an impressive 3-1 away win against Ross County last Friday, Partick Thistle would look to make it two wins in a row as Dundee visited Firhill. Alan Archibald’s side went into the game knowing that a win could take them into the top half of the table if other results went their way, on the night. However, Dundee were coming off the back of a spectacular comeback win against Hearts, where they managed to win 3-2 despite going 2-0 down against the Jambos.
The Jags management staff made one change to the side that was victorious at Dingwall last time out. Steven Lawless was dropped to the bench while Adam Barton returned to the starting eleven after two games on the bench, recovering from a slight knock. Due to Barton’s return, the team returned to a three centre-half formation with Elliott and Booth as wing-backs. Kris Doolan started up-front with Chris Erskine playing off him.
Dundee kicked the game off but early action was scarce. Both teams failed to manufacture any openings whatsoever in the first 15 minutes.
Despite the slow start the first goal of the game came in the 15th minute. Kris Doolan went down on the edge of the D, just outside Dundee’s 18-yard box. The free kick was an inviting one and seemed to suit a left-footer with Sean Welsh and Callum Booth both standing over it. It would be the left-back to take it, but rather than trying to direct it over the wall and into the top corner, he unleashed a curling shot towards the ‘keepers side. The strike was powerful and accurate, flying past Scott Bain who was poorly positioned to stop the attempt. The goal was Booth’s first of the 2016/17 campaign and also the first direct free-kick to be scored at Firhill by the home team since Thistle’s promotion in 2013.
On the 26th minute it was Dundee’s chance to try their luck from a free-kick situation. Tom Hateley stepped up and hit it but his attempt went well over the bar, not troubling Tomas Cerny.
With ten minutes remaining of the first half, the Jags had a chance to double the deficit. Chris Erskine was running at the opposition defence when he spotted Christie Elliott making strides down the right-hand side. The midfielder slotted the ball through for his teammate but Elliott was forced wide by a covering Dundee man. He still took a shot but it was tame and bobbled safely into Scott Bain’s grasp.
Dundee had another half-chance as the first half entered its final five minutes. Cammy Kerr cut past Callum Booth on the Dees’ left wing and tried a shot from 25 yards but it was a weak attempt that floated into the hands of Tomas Cerny.
The home side came close to a second goal with two minutes of the opening 45 left to play. Ryan Edwards started a counter attack all by himself using his seemingly endless reserve of energy to skip past a slide tackle before playing Chris Erskine in. The number 10 tried to reverse a shot past Bain but the ‘stopper blocked the shot.
Despite escaping the Erskine chance without conceding, the visitors couldn’t make it to the interval just a goal behind. Chris Erskine had a chance to have a real run at the Dark Blues’ defence. He used a step over to breeze past his marker before firing on goal. Scott Bain was able to stop the shot but he was unable to hold it, allowing Thistle marksman Kris Doolan to skip past the goalkeeper with ease before slotting home into the open net to score his fifth league goal of the season.
The teams went into half time at 2-0. Thistle had been clinical in front of goal, taking a first half two goal lead for the first time in the league since the Jags drew 3-3 with Dundee United in May of this year. Alan Archibald’s side had been generally calm at the back, allowing no clear cut chance for the travelling Dees. Unfortunately for the Firhill team, Liam Lindsay took a hit to the face in the build-up of the second goal and was forced off at half-time. The big centre-half was replaced by Ziggy Gordon, who slotted in where Lindsay was playing, on the left of the defensive three.
13 minutes after the break, Dundee created their best chance of the game so far when some decent build-up play ended with Kevin Holt being played the ball inside the box. The left-back hit a powerful, low shot that was straight at Tomas Cerny and was easily saved by the Czech goalie.
After an excellent shift and some very creative play Chris Erskine was taken off with 25 minutes to play, being replaced by Ade Azeez.
As the game came to a close Dundee were reduced to hitting long balls towards the Thistle box. Adam Barton looked extremely dominant in the air and the away side had very limited success from their high balls. Two headers came in from Marcus Haber and Rory Loy but both were straight down the throat of Cerny in the Jags’ net.
Ade Azeez used his ability to hold up play to the advantage of the home side, shielding the ball from the defenders and running down the clock in the process. Regrettably, both Daniel Devine and Thistle skipper Abdul Osman picked up bookings which triggered suspensions that will mean they miss out on the first league game of the new year against Inverness. It’s important to remember that the suspension doesn’t affect this weekend’s clash with Kilmarnock or the cup game against Formartine on the 21st of January.
Despite this news, it was no dampener on an impressive victory as the Jags saw out the final few minutes of the match with the game finishing 2-0, allowing Tomas Cerny and his backline to claim their first clean sheet since the reverse fixture against Dundee at Dens Park of the same score line.
The win took Alan Archibald’s side into the top six, going five points clear of the relegation play-off place. It was Thistle’s fifth league win of the season and just the second at home and the Jags must now look forward to Saturday’s clash with Kilmarnock as they try to make it three wins on the bounce for the first time this season.
Thistle Team: Cerny, Booth, Lindsay (Gordon, 45’), Barton, Devine, Elliott, Osman, Welsh, Edwards, Erskine (Azeez, 65’), Doolan
Thistle Subs (N/U): Stuckmann, Wilson, Lawless, McDaid, Amoo
Dundee Team: Bain, Holt, O’Dea, Gadzhalov, Extabeguren (Loy, 78’), Kerr, Vincent (El Bakhtaoui, 58’), Hateley, McGowan, Wighton, Haber
Dundee Subs: (N/U): Mitchell, Curran, Ross, Williams, Gomis
Alan Archibald was looking rather pleased when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk after today’s game. His side had won two games on the bounce for the second time this season, managing to continue the good form they showed against Ross County against tonight’s opponents, Dundee.
A Callum Booth free-kick and a predatory Kris Doolan goal without answer meant that Archie’s team rose to sixth place just a week after finding themselves bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership table.
Alan Archibald started by mentioning his side’s rapid rise from rock bottom to top six.
“It’s a crazy league, we know that. We knew that we had winnable games coming up and we got the win we were in need of and now we have that long awaited home victory we’ve been looking for. I’m happy that we’ve finally rewarded the fans with a victory and a decent performance.”
Archie was glad that Thistle’s attacking quality shone through in a game that lacked rhythm.
“I thought that it was a scrappy game. It was two teams with similar formations trying to break each other down and we knew that it would take some quality from our creative players to do that. Callum Booth’s free-kick was very well taken and for the second goal, Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine were both finding good space and were rewarded. Thankfully, we managed the second half well after going two up.”
The gaffer wasn’t afraid to praise fans’ favourite Ryan Edwards, who has hit a purple patch as of late.
“I think that for the first 20 minutes, Dundee probably just shaded it in the middle of the park but we vastly improved by the second half. Sean Welsh and Ryan Edwards were especially impressive. Ryan’s energy is always there for everyone to see and he’s beginning to show that he has that little bit of quality to go with it.”
The Jags boss was quick to remind us that there’s no time to dwell on a good victory as his side have another important match against Kilmarnock this Saturday – the last game before the winter break.
“The incentive is huge for us. We have the chance to stay where we are, it’s in our own hands. We can’t take Kilmarnock lightly, though. They suffered a bad result last night and they’ll be looking to make amends. It will be a tough, tough game.”
Archibald also offered an update on the status of Liam Lindsay who was subbed off at half-time due to an injury.
“He’s taken a sore one on the face but hopefully he’s alright. I think he caught an elbow, he had a nosebleed and was feeling a bit dizzy but we don’t think it’s a concussion, so we hope he’ll be fine.”
The manager was extremely happy with the resilient nature of the team’s performance, which meant no late goals were conceded. Something the Firhill side have struggled with so far this season.
“We had to be tough. Dundee are a hard team to play against, they got a lot of balls in the box during the second half. I thought we managed the second 45 minutes very well. We’ve crumbled in these positions before, giving away late goals and I’m happy for Tomas Cerny to get that clean sheet.”
As Alan Archibald mentioned, the team now look towards a vital game against Kilmarnock at Firhill on New Year’s Eve. The game is a 2pm kick-off on Saturday and a win would keep the Jags in the top-six heading into the winter break.