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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 1 February, 2014. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow.

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
12
Paul Gallacher
3
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair
6
Conrad Balatoni
8
Stuart Bannigan
10
Prince Buaben (James Craigen (7), 83 mins)
14
Christie Elliott
15
Lee Mair
16
Jordan McMillan (Stephen O'Donnell (2), 58 mins)
21
Lyle Taylor
22
Gary Fraser
23
Kallum Higginbotham (Kris Doolan (9), 60 mins)
 
Subs
1
Scott Fox
5
Aaron Muirhead
7
James Craigen
9
Kris Doolan
11
Steven Lawless
2
Stephen O'Donnell
17
George Moncur
Dundee United
1
Radoslaw Cierzniak
16
Mark Wilson
20
John Souttar
3
Curtis Good
26
Andrew Robertson
6
Paul Paton
8
John Rankin
11
Gary Mackay-Steven
10
Stuart Armstrong (Ryan Dow (18), 79 mins)
21
Nadir Ciftci (Ryan Gauld (19), 66 mins)
29
Farid El Allagui (Brian Graham (9), 66 mins)
 
Subs
25
Marc McCallum
2
Sean Dillon
12
Keith Watson
18
Ryan Dow
19
Ryan Gauld
27
Morgaro Gomis
9
Brian Graham
 
Subs
1
Scott Fox
5
Aaron Muirhead
7
James Craigen
9
Kris Doolan
11
Steven Lawless
2
Stephen O'Donnell
17
George Moncur
 
Subs
25
Marc McCallum
2
Sean Dillon
12
Keith Watson
18
Ryan Dow
19
Ryan Gauld
27
Morgaro Gomis
9
Brian Graham
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 1st February 2014

The January transfer window hasn’t traditionally been a busy time at Partick Thistle but that certainly hasn’t been the case this year. The arrivals earlier today of Prince Buaben and George Moncur has taken the number of additions made to the squad since the turn of the year to six. The traffic though hasn’t all been heading in the one way with Hugh Murray, Mark McGuigan, John Baird, Mark Kerr and, earlier today, Ross Forbes all leaving the Club in January.
[link:HOME] caught up with manager Alan Archibald earlier this afternoon and he was delighted with the business that he’d completed during January whilst also admitting that it had also been a frustrating period.
“I’ll not lie, we’ve had some knock backs as we’ll”, said the Thistle manager who celebrated one year in the job on Thursday before continuing;
“We tried to keep as many irons in the fire as possible as things can fall through at the last minute. You think that a deal has been done only for the player, or his club, to change their mind. It’s not an easy window to deal in but I’m pleased with what we’ve managed to do.”
Alan went on;
“We’ve obviously let a few players go as well with Ross Forbes the latest to leave the club. There was interest in Ross from Dunfermline and I couldn’t stand in his way of regular football when he wasn’t going to feature as often for us as he would have wished. It was a similar situation for John Baird and Mark Kerr, who also left this week; they need to be playing regular football. We’re also going to allow Liam Lindsay to go out on loan with Alloa Athletic. Darren Brownlie has already gone on loan to Cowdenbeath and done well and hopefully Liam will do the same. It does leave Scott McKenzie a little short in numbers for the under 20s but player development is the most important things.”
What then of the two players that Alan has brought to Firhill on loan today?
“Prince Buaben is an excellent player, one that has played at the highest level and won the Scottish Cup with Dundee United. I’ve been tracking him all season and tried to get him in the summer but it wasn’t possible to get him then. I was made aware that he might become available and I’m delighted to get him now. George Moncur meantime is another midfielder. He’s a young player who can pass the ball well and get around the pitch. I’m really pleased too to bring him to Firhill. We were short of numbers with Isaac Osbourne and Sean Welsh injured and with others leaving the Club. It was good to get numbers back up.”
“It was great to bring in Lyle Taylor, Gary Fraser, Lee Mair and Chris Erskine earlier in the transfer window and them plus the two we’ve got today really increases the options open to us.”
One option that the manager thought he might be without for tomorrow’s game with Dundee United was Kallum Higginbotham but despite picking up a nasty injury at St Mirren last weekend he’s all set to feature tomorrow.
“I’m surprised that Kallum will be back as I thought after suffering gash on his knee cap he would be out for a few weeks. I picked up a similar injury and I was out for about that length of time. Kallum though was keen to train on Monday although we held him back until Tuesday. He’s shown great attitude and it is excellent news that he will be fit for tomorrow especially with Chris Erskine unable to play.”
Alan went on;
“Tomorrow’s game will be a very difficult one but with things congested at the foot of the league we want to get points and keep looking at those sides above us. The last time we played United they were flying but I thought on that particular occasion we showed them too much respect which we didn’t do in the previous games with them. United though haven’t won in their last five games and it will be a different United side we will face tomorrow. We will though need to start the game better and with a better attitude if we are to get the three points.”
Partick Thistle Stats

Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
1              3              1              6              5
Scorers Season 2013-2014
Kris Doolan 7
Steven Lawless 5
Aaron Muirhead 4
Lyle Taylor 3
Christie Elliott 2
Kallum Higginbotham 2
Conrad Balatoni 1
Ross Forbes 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair 1
Last Game
Scottish Premiership
Saturday January 25th 2014
St Mirren 0, Partick Thistle 0
Dundee United Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
0              2              3              4              11
Scorers Season 2013-2014
Stuart Armstrong 7
Nadir Ciftci 7
Gary Mackay-Steven 7
Ryan Gauld 6
David Goodwillie 6
Andrew Robertson 5
Brian Graham 4
Keith Watson 4
Ryan Dow 1
Chris Erskine 1
Paul Paton 1
John Rankin 1
John Souttar 1
Last Game
Scottish Premiership
Saturday January 18th 2014
RossCounty 3, Dundee United 0
Last Meeting
Scottish Premiership
Saturday November 23rd 2013
Dundee United 4, Partick Thistle 1
Teams
Dundee United: Cierzniak, Wilson, Souttar, Gunning, Robertson, Paton (Gomis), Rankin, Mackay-Steven, Gauld, Armstrong (Graham), Ciftci (Goodwillie).
Thistle: Fox, McMillan, Taylor-Sinclair, Balatoni, Craigen, Bannigan, Doolan, Forbes (Lawless), Muirhead, Osbourne, Higginbotham (Elliott).
Scorers
United: Mackay-Steven (2 & 76), Robertson  (69), Graham (84)
Thistle: Muirhead (57)
Crowd: 6,700
Match Details
Scottish Premiership
Saturday February 1st 2014
Partick Thistle v Dundee United
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Admission Details
Match Officials
Referee: Willie Collum
Assistant Referees: Martin Cryans and Stuart Hodge
Fourth Official: Euan Norris
Other Fixture
Scottish Premiership
Kilmarnock v RossCounty

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 1st February 2014

Gary Fraser’s first ever senior goal was enough to earn Thistle a richly deserved point in what was an often fiercely contested fixture with Dundee United.
After a busy day of transfer activity the previous day there was plenty of speculation surrounding the Thistle team selection for this game. As it turned out Alan Archibald made three changes to the side that had drawn with St Mirren seven days earlier. New signing Prince Buaben came in to make his Thistle debut and there were starts too for Christie Elliott and Gary Fraser. New loan signing from West Ham George Moncur took up a place on the bench.
The opening few minutes of the game were pretty scrappy but Thistle soon got into their stride. An excellent ball down the right hand side from Christie Elliott allowed Lyle Taylor the chance to deliver a cross into the United box in Thistle’s first serious thrust towards the United goal in the 7th minute but Cierzniak made a confident catch.
As Thistle began to grow in confidence Taylor couldn’t quite connect with a Taylor-Sinclair cross and Gary Fraser forced Cierzniak into a fine stop with a well struck drive from outside the United box.
Thistle came close again in the 21st minute when a glancing header from Conrad Balatoni following a Kallum Higginbotham corner slipped just wide of target.
Balatoni was even closer to a goal three minutes later. Higginbotham drove a corner low towards the near post; although Christie Elliott wasn’t able to get control of the ball it fell into the path of Balatoni who saw his stabbed effort rebound off the base of the United post.
It was anything but one way traffic though and United looked a potent threat when they came forward. A Ciftci free kick took a deflection of one of his own players and that deflection momentarily wrong footed Paul Gallacher but the ball went over the bar.
There were loud appeals for a United penalty when Armstrong took a tumble at the edge of the Thistle box but referee Collum waved play on much to the United player’s obvious anger.
It was the 25th minute before Gallacher was required to make his first serious save of the afternoon when he did well to get a touch to an El Allagui shot.
United though were in front in the 29th minute. Just seconds earlier Lyle Taylor was just about an inch away from connecting with an inviting looking cross from Jordan McMillan. United were able to break quickly and Robertson was able to square the ball to El Allagui who was left with the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty Thistle net.
Just five minutes later United were close to extending their lead and would have done so had Paul Gallacher not made two saves in quick succession to deny United and El Allagui a second goal.
The scores, however, really should have been level just 6 minutes before half-time. Conrad Balatoni’s great run from the back took to the very edge of the United box where he slipped through an excellent pass for Lyle Taylor. Taylor, normally so deadly in these positions; however, shot wide of goal when left with just Cierzniak to beat.
Unfortunate to find themselves trailing at the break there was plenty of Thistle pressure at the start of the second half but the half’s first chance came the way of United; Armstrong side footing the ball wide of goal from 12 yards out.
While it was Thistle that were doing the bulk of the pressing, Taylor-Sinclair’s touch letting him down when the ball fell to him at the left corner of the United box, it was the visitors that again came close to a second goal in the 59th minute when Gallacher had to get down smartly to save an effort from Armstrong.
Gallacher was in action again in the 70th minute when he did well to save a Mackay-Steven shot that bounced awkwardly just in front of him.
These those were isolated chances for United as the pressure, if not clear cut chances, increased from Thistle and they received reward for that in the 75th minute. There was a rare touch of good fortune for Thistle with Gary Fraser’s shot, after a corner had only been partially cleared, took a deflection off United’s John Rankin on its’ way into the back of the net.
With the scores once again level and just 15 minutes remaining both teams sought a winning goal in the time that remained. It was United that came the closest to finding that goal when a Brian Graham header struck the top of the Thistle crossbar.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 1st February 2014

After Saturday’s game with Dundee United the obvious question to ask Thistle manager Alan Archibald was whether it was a point gained or two lost?
“It was a bit of both. I thought that we had enough pressure in the second half to perhaps go on and nick a second goal. To be fair I felt that we had the better chances in the first half as well and that they scored against the run of play.”
The manager though was disappointed to see his side caught on the counter attack.
“That was very disappointing because up to then we’d had the better chances in the game. This was something that we had spoken to the players about and something that we had worked on. To be fair Jordan McMillan has put a great ball into the box and United have scored ten seconds later from our cross. That’s very, very disappointing because the players were made more than aware that United are capable of doing that; they are a good team and they’ve done that to umpteen other teams this season. I was delighted though with the reaction and the character the players showed to come back from that.”
Alan continued;
“When it was 1-0 to United we were having plenty of pressure and balls were getting whipped into the box but they just weren’t dropping for us and you began to think that this might prove to be one of those days but thankfully the boys showed great character and hunger to keep going and we perhaps got a bit of luck with the goal with the ball taking a slight deflection. We’ve not had much of that kind of luck at Firhill this season and we’ll take that all day long. I thought that Gary deserved his goal in any case as he was outstanding.”
Prior to his equalising goal Fraser had tested the United keeper with a fierce effort during the opening 45 minutes.
“He’s got that in his locker. He does that in training every day. To be honest I think the goalkeepers with the power that he gets in his shots. I thought that he showed a great composure today and a great calmness as well; he sometimes plays the game like an experienced player.”
The manager too was pleased with the performance of new boy Prince Buaben.
“I think you could tell that he hadn’t spent a great deal of time with us. He just came in yesterday and did a bit of training. I think you saw his quality the longer the game went on; he got better and better and hopefully we will get the best out of him.”
With no fixture next weekend the next couple of weeks will give all the new players the opportunity to get to know their new surrounds a bit better.
“It will allow them to get to know the rest of the lads and build working relationships with them. You could see today that Prince didn’t really know anybody though we started to see his quality in the second half. The two weeks we’ve got now will allow him, George Moncur  and Chris Erskine to settle in.”

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