SPFL Ladbrokes Championship
Sat 9 March, 2019. Kick Off: - 15:00
The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill
This fixture is a GENERAL ADMISSION fixture
HOME ticket prices:
Spectators looking to use the Jackie Husband stand will require to purchase a ticket from the portable ticket office next to the Jackie Husband reception.
Cash gates in operation for the John Lambie and Colin Weir Stands.
Adults – £20
Concessions – £15
Under 16s – FREE
A concession is qualified as a person between 17 and 18, over 65* or a student with a valid matriculation card.
AWAY ticket prices:
Adults – £20
Concessions – £15
Under 16s – £5
*Please note that bus passes are not a valid proof of ID for 65+ concession. Valid forms of ID for 65+ concession are: standard UK Driver’s license, passport, Birth certificate, VALIDATE UK proof of age card, NUS card, National ID card.
It’s back to Ladbrokes Championship action for Thistle this Saturday as Dundee United travel to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. With a Scottish Cup replay away to Hearts on Tuesday and another huge league game the following Saturday it is certainly a busy period for Gary Caldwell’s side.
With the prospect of getting off the bottom of the table and booking a place in the semi final of the Scottish Cup all in one week there is certainly no shortage of motivation for the Jags players. Gary Caldwell sat down with ptfc.co.uk to look ahead to Saturday’s game but first to reflect on the positives from Monday night’s clash with Hearts.
“I’ve watched the Hearts game back again and my feelings didn’t change much from what I said at the time. We had to defend well for the first 30 minutes of the game but we didn’t allow them many clear chances – they only had three shots on target for the entire game.
“Perhaps we lacked a little composure in the first half and we certainly should have got our foot on the ball more but we really came into it in the second half. For that second 45 minutes I thought we really took the game to Hearts and started to show what we could do. In my opinion we certainly deserved the draw in the end.”
Like Thistle, Dundee United had an extremely busy January and the team that will shape up to face the Arabs on Saturday will likely have a very different look to the team Thistle faced at the turn of the year. That being said, Caldwell is clear that he will give his players as much information on what they will face as he possibly can.
“They have new personnel but they use the same formation and have a very similar style of play. we can take a lot from the game a the start of January, particularly the first half. We played extremely well, particularly up until half time. We were on the front foot and created plenty of chances, all of which came together to get us a well earned point against a very good team.
“We’ve prepared well and have focused on recovering from Monday night. The players are ready and now it’s about getting the energy and focus back going into an absolutely massive game where we have to go and get three points.”
Despite a fantastic run of results at the start of the year two defeats has seen the Jags back at the bottom of the table. However, with just 12 points between fourth and twelfth Caldwell knows that a couple of wins could put an entirely different complexion on things.
“It is the nature of this league, you can see how one or two bad results can affect you but likewise the same applies for good results. One or two wins can have a massive impact on league position.
“It is still in our hands, we need to focus on what we are doing and make sure we get those positive results to pull us away from trouble and try to look up to the higher parts of the league.”
Finally the gaffer gave an update on the injury situation.
“Obviously you saw Joe Cardle and Miles Storey come back into the fold on monday night and they are both available for Saturday. Jack McMillan has also recovered after he picked up a knock on monday night and is ready to be involved.
“Stuart Bannigan and Andy McCarthy are both continuing to work with the physios. They’ll be touch and go for Saturday but should be back in the fold next week.”
More exclusive preview interviews with Aidan Fitzpatrick, Miles Storey and Jags manager, Gary Caldwell, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.
Can’t make it to The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday.
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Article Copyright © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.
Aidan Fitzpatrick's 90th minute goal wins Thistle the points.
United think they have snatched an equaliser but the flag is up for offside.
GOAL THISTLE. Mansell squares to Fitzpatrick who nets. Jags lead 2-1.
Fitzpatrick gets clear down the right but his shot takes a deflection on the way over.
Fitzpatrick getrs clear but play is pulled back as he is adjudged to have nudged a United defender.
United are nearly in front but Hazard saves from Smith after the Thistle defence is opened up.
Hazard punches the corner clear.
Spittal finds Fitzpatrick with a good pass but Fitzpatrick's touch takes him wide and the opportunity is lost.
Clark powers a low drive from the free kick past Hazard and into the corner of the net.
United have a free kick almost on the very edge of the Thistle box. Just marginally left of dead centre.
Thistle clear the corner.
It's a United corner though they are adament that it should be a penalty for Storey's challenge on Stanton.
Spittal heads the corner clear from the front post.
Siegrist makes a good catch from a McDonald cross.
Slater shoots from the left corner of the United box but his shot is always on the rise and clears the bar.
Spittal can only hit the wall with the free kick and when Cardle returns the ball into the box Saunders is flagged for offside.
McDonald does win a foul this time for a near identical challenge. This time though he is about 5 yards outside the box.
Loud shouts for a Thistle penalty when McDonald goes down under Connolly's challenge. Looked a good shout from here.
McDonald is able to gather a misplaced header back towards the United goal but Siegrist gets enough of a hand on his shot to turn it behind for a corner.
A Storey cross after good work from McDonald drops onto the top of te United net.
Saunders is able to get his heqad on Slater's corner but there is no power in the header and Siegrist collects with ease.
Scott McDonald's early goal gives Thistle a half time lead.
Cardle and Penrice combine down the ;left but the latter's cross is poor and is cleared.
Slarer gets into a promising position on the right but over hits his cross.
Cardle collects a lovely pass from Penrice but his cross is blocked by a defender.
A cross from the left looks like going out of play but United manage to keep the ball in and Clark has a chance but skies an effort way over the Thistle crossbar.
Seaman's free kick dips but too late to trouble Hazard and Thistle have a goal kick.
United have a free kick about 30 yards from the Thistle goal.
McDonald closes down Siegrist and wins the ball but it spins away from goal amd out for a throw to United.
Thistle make a mess of the free kick though and play restarts with a United goal kick.
Slater earns Thistle a free kick deep inside the United half.
Penrice plays the ball up to McDonald who takes the ball to the edge of the United box. His shot though hits a defender taking all the pace off it.
United win a free kick insside the Thistle half seconds after McDonald looked to be fouled.
Hazard comes out his box to clear for an United throw.
Break in pay for Sow to receive some treatment.
Thistle force United back towards their own goal after the corner is cleared.
Big chance for United. McMullan gets two stabs at a shot and he scoops the ball over the bar from 12 yards out with the second when he really should have hit target at least.
Excellent tracking back from Cardle to get the ball away from an advancing Seaman.
Sow gets to the ball ahead of Saunders but Penrice makes a good challenge to rob McMullan of the ball.
Mcmullan puts over a great cross from the United right but no team mate is able to get on the end of it.
Thistle are a whisker away from a second goal as Spittal's snap shot from the edge of the box is just a matter of inches too high.
Spittal clears Nesbitt's low corner and Thistle try and break through Cardle.
Sow's effort is touched wide for a corner.
Dream start for Thistle. Cardle's cross seems to hold up on the wind just enough to allow McDonald to steal into space and head home.
Clark tries his luck for United from over 20 yards out but drags his effort well wide of the Thistle goal.
It's back to league action this afternoon with a visit from Dundee United.
Gary Caldwell has made three changes to the side that started against Hearts in the Scottish Cup on Monday night.
In come Scott McDonald, Miles Storey and Joe Cardle.
Gary Harkins, Aidan Fitzpatrick and Lewis Mansell are the players that drop to the bench.
The Jags returned to league action after their Scottish Cup quarter-final draw with Hearts on Monday. Dundee United were the visitors to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill for a massive game in the Ladbrokes Championship.
Thistle had lost their previous two league games to Ross County and Dunfermline but were aiming to get back on track against a Terrors side which had lost their own quarter-final in the 90th minute six days prior. Falkirk winning on Friday night brought extra pressure for the Jags as the home side risked losing ground on their rivals.
Gary Caldwell made three changes to the side which drew with Hearts earlier in the week with two players making full returns from injury. Conor Hazard remained in goals behind the back four of James Penrice, Steven Saunders, Steven Anderson and Christie Elliott who was back to right-back after an adventure forward into the midfield against the Jambos in the Scottish Cup.
Jack McMillan continued to prove his versatility by turning out in central midfield alongside Craig Slater who sat just behind Blair Spittal. On the wings, Joe Cardle and Miles Storey started for the first time since their respective injuries against Queen of the South and East Fife while Scott McDonald came in at centre forward. On the bench for the home side were Jamie Sneddon, Sean McGinty, Gary Harkins, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Kris Doolan, Lewis Mansell and Ally Roy.
After the team’s poor start on Monday evening, Thistle were keen to start well and they did that perfectly by netting the opener after four minutes. The goal came from Joe Cardle’s right boot as he lifted a perfectly weighted ball into the box for Scott McDonald to head goalward. The Australian met the ball well and beat Benjamin Siegrist despite the Swiss ‘keeper getting something to it. The goal was McDonald’s second as a Jag and his first at in Maryhill – for the right team.
The Jags then very nearly went 2-0 up as Joe Cardle knocked a cross down into the path of Blair Spittal. The number seven met the ball on the half-volley but failed to keep his effort down as it went inches over the bar.
United looked to respond and almost came up with an equaliser on 12 minutes through wideman, Paul McMullan. A cross from the Tangerines’ left deflected to the winger at the back post and he scuffed his first shot. The ball fell back to him though and he got a second bite at the cherry which he also made a mess of, volleying over the bar from close range, letting Thistle off with a nervous moment.
The visitors had another chance to make it 1-1 in the 33rd minute through 10 goal striker, Nicky Clark. It was another cross from the United left creating the danger as the delivery was kept alive at the back post by Paul McMullan. His flick fell to Clark who tried the first-time volley on the half-turn, however, the ex-Dunfermline man blasted the ball high into the John Lambie Stand behind the goal.
That was all for the first half and the Jags would have been very happy with their performance up until the break. Having taken the lead just four minutes into the game, they’d gone on to limit Dundee United to a couple of half chances ahead of the break.
Thistle started the second half as they did the first and could have had a second goal seven minutes after the break. The opportunity came from a United mistake as Mark Reynolds tried a badly misjudged header back to his ‘keeper which Scott McDonald intercepted. The number 10 tried a quick shot but Siegrist was able to get a hand to it and turn the ball past the post.
Gary Caldwell made his first change of the game on 57 minutes as youngster Aidan Fitzpatrick replaced Joe Cardle.
Referee, Alan Newlands had his biggest moment of the game with 20 minutes to play as Jamie Robson was fed the ball in behind the covering Miles Storey. Storey tried to tackle the full-back who had rushed into the box and Robson went down while the ball flew behind. The United players were adamant that they should have had a spot kick, however, the man with the whistle decreed that Storey had got the ball and a corner was awarded.
A couple of minutes later, Miles was replaced by Lewis Mansell who went up front with Scott McDonald dropping into the hole and Blair Spittal moving out to the wing where Storey had been.
Robbie Neilson’s side weren’t deterred by the non-penalty and were able to score an equaliser with 15 minutes to play. Nicky Clark was the man to net the leveller as his low, drilled free-kick from 20 yards managed to beat Conor Hazard on the goalkeeper’s side of the wall. After the shot found the net, Hazard had a few choice words for his wall who he felt had obscured his view of the effort.
Then, in the 80th minute, Hazard was heavily involved again, this time keeping Thistle on level terms. It was Cammy Smith coming in from the left-hand side and playing a one-two with Pavol Safranko to create some space in the box. As a result, Smith found space around eight yards out but the man who once scored a hat-trick against the Jags for the Tangerines was unable to beat Conor Hazard with the Northern Irishman making the vital save to deny the visitors the lead.
The Maryhill men made their last alteration of the game as Scott McDonald was taken off to be replaced by Gary Harkins.
Just one minute after that substitution, Thistle could have retaken the lead on the break, as Aidan Fitzpatrick turned Mark Connolly and charged towards the Dundee United box. The number 21 had the option of a square pass to Lewis Mansell but opted to take a shot on, however, unfortunately for Aidan, Mark Reynolds managed to deflect his effort over the bar.
There would be time for another chance though and the away side would be having some serious deja vu as they lost to a 90th minute winner for the second week in a row. Once again it was a quick break from the Jags which spawned the danger with Craig Slater finding Lewis Mansell, allowing the number 30 to power away from Jamie Robson before passing to Aidan Fitzpatrick with the outside of his right foot. The ball rolled into the winger’s path and he simply played it back across goal, into the far corner to give Thistle a dramatic win against the Championship’s second best side.
Pavol Safranko had the ball in the net in injury time but the offside flag was up and that was the extent of United’s response as the hosts saw out what would prove to be a vital win with Alloa losing in one of the day’s other fixtures. As a consequence, the Wasps fell to bottom of the Championship, two points behind Thistle.
Up next for the men in red and yellow is a trip to Tynecastle to take on Hearts with a place at Hampden in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals at stake. Kick-off is 19:45 on Tuesday in the capital.
PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Hazard, Penrice, Saunders, Anderson, Elliott, McMillan, Slater, Spittal, Cardle (Fitzpatrick, 57’), Storey (Mansell, 72’), McDonald (Harkins, 82’).
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Sneddon, McGinty, Doolan, Roy.
DUNDEE UNITED TEAM: Siegrist, Robson, Connolly, Reynolds, Seaman (Smith, 71’), Harkes, Butcher, McMullan, Nesbitt (Stanton, 59’), Clark, Sow (Safranko, 19’).
UNUSED SUBS (DUN): Laidlaw, Booth, Watson, Fyvie.
Partick Thistle got back to winning ways this afternoon as Aidan Fitzpatrick’s last minute winner secured a dramatic win for the Jags against Dundee United. The Maryhill men had taken the lead very early on through Scott McDonald as the Australian headed Joe Cardle’s cross home. The visitors were able to level, however, as Nicky Clark curled a free-kick home from 20 yards. The Tangerines continued to push but nevertheless it was the hosts who would grab the crucial third goal of the game as Lewis Mansell fed Aidan Fitzpatrick, allowing the 17-year-old to turn home past Benjamin Siegrist. The win moves Thistle off bottom spot going into their cup quarter-final replay at Tynecastle on Tuesday. Jags boss, Gary Caldwell, spoke to ptfc.co.uk after the final whistle:
“It’s a brilliant three points, absolutely brilliant. We got that goal early on and from then on, played well without causing them too many problems but we were very comfortable in the game.
“In the second half, as it wore on, we were dropping a bit deeper and we could have been punished more than we were for that which is something I said to the players after the match and is something we have to improve on.
“Going past that, the lads showed sensational spirit and desire to win that football match. In the end it was two young guys linking up to score a massive goal from our point of view.”
Gary was particularly pleased that his side got the win because it now means they can put the losses to Ross County and Dunfermline firmly in the rear-view mirror and look to build another strong run like the one they started the year with.
“This group of players has only really had one and a half bad games this year and we’re in March and although those were poor results, there is still plenty of football to be played and hopefully we’re now back on the right track with the victory this afternoon.”
The gaffer gave particular praise to Aidan Fitzpatrick who was the player with the killer touch as he was played through by Lewis Mansell in the 90th minute.
“Both Fitzy and Lewis did brilliantly when they came on. They really caused United all sorts of issues and ran the channels well. Fitzy had a chance to play it to Lewis a few minutes before but just picked the wrong option. Luckily, Lewis did the right thing when a similar break came and when you need that bit of quality in front of goal in a one-on-one Fitzy has it.”
A more in depth video interview with Gary Caldwell is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Aidan Fitzpatrick and Scott McDonald – log in now to see them.
Highlights will be added shortly and will be free for Jagzone subscribers.
For a full list of all the great content you can access from just £5.99 per month as a Jagzone member, click here.
Article Copyright © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk