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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Fri 2 August, 2013. Kick Off: - 19:45
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair
4
Sean Welsh
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Conrad Balatoni
22
Gary Fraser (Ross Forbes (10), 84 mins)
8
Stuart Bannigan
7
James Craigen (Christie Elliott (14), 64 mins)
11
Steven Lawless
9
Kris Doolan (John Baird (17), 72 mins)
 
Subs
12
Paul Gallacher
17
John Baird
20
Mark Kerr
10
Ross Forbes
19
Isaac Osbourne
14
Christie Elliott
21
Henoc Mukendi
Dundee United
1
Radoslaw Cierzniak
12
Keith Watson
2
Sean Dillon
4
Calum Butcher
26
Andy Robertson
6
Paul Paton
10
Stuart Armstrong
18
Ryan Dow (Brian Graham (9), 72 mins)
19
Ryan Gauld (Chris Erskine (17), 63 mins)
21
Nadir Çiftçi (Gary Mackay-Steven (11), 46 mins)
7
David Goodwillie
 
Subs
17
Chris Erskine
11
Gary Mackay-Steven
9
Brian Graham
8
John Rankin
20
John Souttar
15
Michael Gardyne
25
Mark McCallum
 
Subs
12
Paul Gallacher
17
John Baird
20
Mark Kerr
10
Ross Forbes
19
Isaac Osbourne
14
Christie Elliott
21
Henoc Mukendi
 
Subs
17
Chris Erskine
11
Gary Mackay-Steven
9
Brian Graham
8
John Rankin
20
John Souttar
15
Michael Gardyne
25
Mark McCallum
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 2nd August 2013

A 3,367 day wait for the return of top flight football to Firhill is nearly at an end.
The sense of anticipation surrounding tonight’s game with Dundee United has been growing with every passing day since the fixtures for the new season were announced on June 19th. At 7:45pm tonight that anticipation will become reality.
When [link:HOME] spoke to manager Alan Archibald this morning he expressed his relief that the season will soon be off and running.

“There’s a bit of relief that we are getting started at last. The closer we’ve been getting to the game the longer it seems to have been taking. The excitement has been growing all the time and you could tell this week that the start of the real action was coming. To be fair you could pick up on that last week as well as we got ready for our only pre-season match at Firhill.”
Alan continued;
“Although today’s game is taking place on a Friday we’ve just treated it as if it were any other midweek fixture. The players have been giving the day off, we did all our preparation yesterday, with instructions on what to do and when. I think the fact that game is a night and will be played under floodlights just adds to the sense of occasion surrounding the match. There’s obviously been a lot of hype surrounding the game with Jackie and others returning to Firhill. All the issues between the two club were resolved a while back which I’m really pleased about. It will be important that my players stay focused on the job in hand and don’t get carried away with anything else going on.”
Has Alan already picked his team or will he wait till nearer kick-off time?
“I’ve a team picked in my head; a team that I think can go out and do the job we need them to do.”
The manager has almost a full squad to select from as he explains;
“Just about everyone is fit. The only player that is struggling to be involved is Jordan McMillan. Stuart Bannigan and Sean Welsh have trained really well this week after coming back from injury last weekend.”
Will any of the recent new signings be involved tonight?
“It could come a little too early for Gabriel but Isaac Osbourne has done a bit more training than the other new signings. He did a good 10-12 days pre-season training with Blackpool. Simon hasn’t really done much in the way of pre-season training other than training on his own and we’ll nurture him along.”
Alan went on;
“Having virtually everyone fit and available does mean that some players will have to miss out but I’ve stressed to the players that in what is going to be a tough season that we will need everyone at some stage or other. It’s an advantage too that we can list 7 substitutes so that’s another couple of players that will be stripped tonight. It’s good from my point of view as well; it’s good to know that I can look over my shoulder and see a number of different options open to me should I need to make changes.”
Match Details
Scottish Premiership
Friday August 2nd 2013
Partick Thistle v Dundee United
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Prices
Jackie Husband Stand
Adults £20
Concessions (Over 65, Students, Unemployed, Disabled + Carer) £14
Under 16s FREE
North Stand (over 16s only)
Adults £20
Concessions £14 (Over 65, Students, Unemployed, Disabled + Carer)
Main Stand (Away Support)
Adults £20
Concessions  (Over 65s, Students, Disabled + Carer) £14
Under 16s £5.
Admission for this game is by cash on the turnstyle except for under 16s in the Jackie Husband Stand. They can collect a ticket from the Ticket office outside the Jackie Husband Stand or stewards will be handing them out.
Programme £3
Travel Information
Note from SPT for fans travelling by underground.
Match Officials
Referee: Craig Thomson
Assistant Referees: Alan Mulvanny and Graeme Leslie
Fourth Official: Bobby Madden

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 2nd August 2013

Thistle’s first game back in the top flight of Scottish football for over 9 years failed to produce a goal but there was no shortage of entertainment for the crowd of just a little under 8,000.
Thistle manager Alan Archibald’s team selection showed his faith in the side that had won, and won well, last season’s First Division. Only one of the starting eleven, Gary Fraser, hadn’t been a part of last season’s successful squad. The 90 minutes of pulsating action that followed showed that while the Thistle players have little experience of top flight football they did not look out of place there; quite the reverse.
Thistle adopted a positive approach to the game right from the first whistle but it was Scott Fox, who would have an excellent game, that was the first of the two goalkeepers to be called into action; clawing away a deflected cross from Gauld from almost right underneath his crossbar.
The early pressure though was all Thistle’s. Four corners in quick succession were won and with Taylor-Sinclair looking impeded as one came over Thistle had a not unreasonable claim for a penalty.
In the 12th minute Thistle were close to taking the lead. Gary Fraser’s crossfield pass picked out Taylor-Sinclair who, from wide on the left, swung over a dangerous looking cross. Kris Doolan was unable to connect with it but the ball bounced back off United defender Butcher back towards his own goal but went agonizingly wide.
At times Thistle were perhaps a little guilty of cheaply conceding possession of the ball and they could have been punished for that when Gauld was able to pick out Goodwillie in the Thistle box, but the United striker was unable to make anything of the opportunity given to him.
He did, however, force Scott Fox into a splendid one handed saw low to his right with a header following a cross from the right after 16 minutes.
Almost immediately following that near thing Paul Paton nearly marked his return to Firhill with a goal. Scott Fox was again tested to the limit, this time doing well to tip Paton’s ferocious drive over the bar.
There was plenty, however, activity at the other end with United at times had pressed to deal with Thistle’s pacey thrusts towards their goal. Kris Doolan was inches away from connecting with a Stuart Bannigan cross from the left and a first time shot from James Craigen went wide of Cierzniak’s left hand post.
As Thistle continued to press for the goal their play probably merited; Kris Doolan glanced a Taylor-Sinclair cross wide of target and both Stuart Bannigan and James Craigen had shots blocked in quick succession by United defenders.
United though remained a very real threat themselves. Andrew Robertson was able to display a good turn of pace down the Thistle left and his excellent cross caused the Thistle defence a whole host of problems before Scott Fox was able to punch the ball clear.
It was Thistle that would come the closest to taking a half-time lead. The half time whistle was just 9 minutes away when a Thistle cross bounced off Sean Dillion and it took an excellent stop from Cierzniak to prevent his team mate from scoring an own goal.
It was United who started the second half the better. Goodwillie demonstrated what a dangerous player he is when he curled a shot from the right corner of the Thistle box wide of the opposite post before testing Scott Fox with a well struck effort after he managed to evade the attentions of Conrad Balatoni.
Thistle though were soon seen as an attacking force again. Kris Doolan saw a shot tipped over the bar by Cierzniak and in the 64th minute Taylor-Sinclair was only a fraction off target with a well struck free kick from just a few yards outside the United box.
Play in a very open game quickly switched to the other end and Scott Fox came out his penalty area to clear ahead of Goodwillie only to come off second best. Just when it looked that United and Goodwillie would profit and open the scoring; Conrad Balatoni was able to make a timely intervention.
Tempers flared shortly afterwards when Butcher’s lunge on Gary Fraser was punished only by a yellow card when many people felt that the colour of the referee’s card should have been red.
Fraser, who had an excellent Thistle debut before being replaced by Ross Forbes, wasn’t affected by that challenge and he tested Cierzniak with a well struck shot that was heading for the bottom right hand corner.
John Baird, on as a substitute for Kris Doolan, too came close with a header from close range that Cierzniak was hard pressed to touch over his crossbar.
There was little doubt that both teams desperately wanted to win this game. Brian Graham, often a thorn in Thistle’s side in the past, was denied by another good Scott Fox stop while Taylor-Sinclair shot into the side netting for Thistle after collecting a pass from Steven Lawless.
If Butcher was lucky not to be punished more severely for his challenge on Gary Fraser he was fortunate to escape any punishment at all when he lunged in on Stuart Bannigan inside the United box as Thistle, for the second time during the game, had a strong claim for a penalty.
Thistle too could have won the game deep into injury time. Ross Forbes let fly from fully 30 yards from goal and with the ball swerving in front of him Cierzniak produced a good save to keep the ball out and preserve the 0-0 score line.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 2nd August 2013

Last night’s game didn’t produce the Thistle win that we were all so much hoping for but manager Alan Archibald, when speaking to [link:HOME] after the game, was still very pleased with the performance of his players; a performance that he feels they should take pride and belief from.
“I’m absolutely delighted with them, I thought that they were a credit to themselves and to the Club. I thought that they worked ever so hard. All the stuff that we worked on they did what we asked of them. All that was missing was the goal and we know that they are hard to come by in the Premier League, but I thought the players were outstanding.”
Alan continued;
“We stressed to the players all week to relax and pass the ball. When they get uptight they don’t play; we saw that last season in the Ramsdens Cup Final. Getting them to relax and pass the ball was the main thing and I thought they did that. For spells I felt that they controlled the game.”
We wondered if it had been a conscious decision from the manager to start with so many of last season’s squad?
“I think they deserved it. Some of the new players aren’t quite fit yet anyway but I thought that the boys that got us here last season deserved their chance and I thought they stood up brilliantly to the challenge.”
The one starter who wasn’t part of last season’s squad was teenager Gary Fraser and the manager was very impressed with the performance of the on loan midfielder.
“He’s only turned 19 as well. I was so keen to get him and I was disappointed, to be fair, when he went to Bolton but luckily enough he had enjoyed his time with us pre-season so much that the first thing he did when he signed for Bolton was to say he wanted to come back on loan. I think you could see tonight the qualities that he has. For a 19 year old to put in a performance like that is just outstanding.”
Although the goal didn’t come the manager was certainly not unhappy with the performance of the two strikers he deployed during the course of the game. Alan commenting;
“We had watched United a couple of times and we had done our analysis on them and we knew that if we could get balls into the box we could possibly cause them problems. I thought that both Kris Doolan and John Baird were handfuls for their centre backs and we didn’t quite get the break of the ball on a few occasions.”
Alan was naturally pleased not to have conceded a goal.
“Getting a clean sheet into the bargain was pleasing against probably one of the top teams in the league in terms of attacking options at the top end of the pitch. When players like MacKay-Stevens can’t even get on the pitch at the start of the game and that just shows the quality that they have.”
The Thistle manager too is going to have a few selection headaches once everyone is fully tuned up for the season ahead.
“I stressed last year when I got the job that we had to be a squad and that if we got 3 or 4 injuries we would have to mix things up and that’s going to happen this season. Everyone will get a chance.”
Will changes be made for Tuesday’s League Cup tie with Ayr United?
“We’ve got a few knocks anyway so I think we will have to make a few changes.”

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