Partick Thistle FC logo
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Sat 11 August, 2012. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow.

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Stuart Bannigan (James Craigen (14), 83 mins)
4
Paul Paton
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Alan Archibald
7
Steve Lawless (Christie Elliott (15), 66 mins)
8
Sean Welsh
9
Kris Doolan
10
Hugh Murray
11
Chris Erskine (Aaron Sinclair (16), 66 mins)
 
Subs
12
Ryan Scully
14
James Craigen
15
Christie Elliott
16
Aaron Sinclair
17
Mark McGuigan
Falkirk
1
Michael McGovern
2
Kieran Duffie
3
Stephen Kingsley
4
Jonathan Flynn
5
Chris Smith
6
Jay Fulton
7
Dale Fulton (Craig Sibbald (12), 45 mins)
8
Stewart Murdoch
9
Lyle Taylor
10
Andy Haworth
11
Blair Alston
 
Subs
12
Craig Sibbald
14
Luke Leahy
15
Conor McGrandles
16
Liam Dick
17
Graham Bowman
 
Subs
12
Ryan Scully
14
James Craigen
15
Christie Elliott
16
Aaron Sinclair
17
Mark McGuigan
 
Subs
12
Craig Sibbald
14
Luke Leahy
15
Conor McGrandles
16
Liam Dick
17
Graham Bowman
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Falkirk – 11th August 2012

Victory away to Clyde and Forfar was a positive way to start the new season but there is a sense that tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated fixture with Falkirk, which kick starts the league season, really marks the start of the football season.
It’s certainly an attractive fixture to open the league campaign with. Falkirk finished last season in third position and they are many people’s tips to finish two places above last season’s finish this time out. There have been some changes to the Falkirk squad but even with players like Farid El Alagui and Mark Millar having departed for pastures new there is no discernible weakening of the Falkirk squad overall. When speaking to www.ptfc.co.uk manager Jackie McNamara was clearly anticipating that Falkirk will again be one of the main challengers this season.

“Falkirk are one of the sides that I expect to see challenging at the top of the table. They finished third last season and they will naturally be keen to finish a couple of places higher this season. They have lost a couple of players from last season, probably most notably Farid El Alagui who will be a big miss, but they’ve also managed to bring in a few players who have already been among the goals this season and will need to be watched very closely. Their younger players are now also a year older and more experienced.”
It’s a difficult fixture but one that the manager is very much looking forward to.
“It’s an exciting game to start the league season with and hopefully there will be a big turn out at Firhill this afternoon. I think that it is important that we try and start the league season well, and with a really positive display.”
On the eve of the game it looks as if Jackie will be without just two players.
“Conrad Balatoni has a one game suspension in the league carried forward from last season and he will miss tomorrow’s game because of that. David Rowson is continuing to be troubled with his back injury and he is again missing. David is speaking to a number of different people to try and get to the root of his problems but we don’t, at this stage, have a timescale for his return. We are keen though to get to the bottom of his problems as quickly as possible. David hasn’t done anything since the Ayr United friendly and if he doesn’t get back soon then he will have to go through almost a mini pre-season when he does return and that obviously isn’t ideal.”
“On a plus note Christie Elliott has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the squad up at Forfar last Saturday and he comes back into contention, as does Paul Paton who is available again following his suspension. “
We’ve done well in the two cup competitions that we’ve played in so far and in terms of team selection for this afternoon I have some hard decisions to make for tomorrow’s game. It’s a good position for a manager to be in. It’s pleasing to look at the squad and see that have competition for places. It’s exactly what we need, we need to have players pushing each other hard for a place in the starting eleven every week.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Season 2012-2013 So Far
W            D             L              F              A
2              0              0              3              0
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Kris Doolan 1
Chris Erskine 1
Steven Lawless 1
Last Game
The Scottish Communities League Cup First Round
Saturday August 4th 2012
Forfar Athletic 0, Partick Thistle 2
Falkirk Stats
Season 2012-2013 So Far
W            D             L              F              A
2              0              0              5              0
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Lyle Taylor 3
Kieran Duffie 1
Stephen Kingsley 1
Last Game
The Scottish Communities League Cup First Round
Saturday August 4th 2012
Falkirk 2, Elgin City 0
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday April 28th 2012
Partick Thistle 1, Falkirk 1
Teams
Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Bannigan, Robertson, Balatoni, Archibald, Cairney, Halsman (Griffin), McGuigan (Elliott), Welsh, Erskine (Doolan)
Falkirk: McGovern, Bennett, Kingsley, Dods, Wallace, J Fulton, Sibbald, Millar, El Alagui, Alston, Weatherston (Faulds).
Scorers
Thistle: McGuigan (24)
Falkirk: Alston (71)
Crowd: 2,586

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday August 11th 2012
Partick Thistle v Falkirk
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Prices
Adults: £17
OAP (65+): £12
16-21: £12
Full Time Education: £12
Programme: £2.50
Match Officials
Referee: George Salmond
Assistant Referees: Craig Young and Rodney Marshall
Other First Division Fixtures
Cowdenbeath v Dunfermline Athletic
Morton v Livingston
Raith Rovers v Hamilton Accies
Airdrie United v Dumbarton

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Falkirk – 11th August 2012

The Thistle side to start the league season against Falkirk showed just one change from the side that started against Forfar in the Scottish Communities League Cup. Paul Paton had missed that game through suspension but he returned to the starting eleven for the visit of Falkirk. His inclusion saw Aaron Sinclair drop to the bench, a move that saw Stuart Bannigan move from midfield to a role on the left side of defence.
The start of any season is a time for optimism but the start that Thistle made to this game would have been well beyond the expectations of even the most wildly optimistic Thistle fan. With just 7 minutes on the clock Thistle found themselves two goals ahead.
The first goal arrived in Thistle’s first thrust at the Falkirk goal in the 4th minute. Chris Erskine created a chance for Sean Welsh to cross from the left and his cross was steered into the corner of the net by Steven Lawless making his home debut for the Club.
That opening goal was met with the obvious approval of the Thistle fans and they were in dreamland three minutes later when Kris Doolan doubled his side’s advantage. Doolan largely created the opportunity for himself and he was steered the ball beyond the reach of McGovern and, via the inside of the post, into the corner of the net.
Five minutes later Falkirk were a whisker away from getting themselves right back into the game, and they would have done so as well had Scott Fox not produced an excellent save to keep out Dale Fulton’s shot that looked destined for the corner of the net. Even then the ball broke loose and Fox again had to save, this time to deny Lyle Taylor.
After such a frantic first 15 minutes it was perhaps no great surprise that the game started to settle into a rhythm once even had had the opportunity to draw breath.
Thistle were able to move the ball well across the width of the pitch but weren’t able to truly test McGovern after the Falkirk keeper had been forced to pick the ball out his net twice inside the first ten minutes of the game.
At the other end, the Thistle defence was well marshalled by Aaron Muirhead and Alan Archibald with Falkirk, Dale Fulton’s shot in the 15th minute aside, restricted to one rather tame header from Lyle Taylor after Stephen Kingsley had crossed from the left hand side.
The opening exchanges of the second half were always likely to be important and in the 53rd minute Falkirk were able to haul themselves right back into the game. Lyle Taylor’s first time shot seemed to catch Scott Fox a little by surprise with the result that the ball flew into the back of the net.
Thistle though were able to re-establish their two goal lead in next to no time. Sean Welsh was able to climb above the Falkirk defence to reach a corner from the left. McGovern saved but Kris Doolan was on hand inside the six yard box to poke the ball home.
The action was coming thick and fast at this stage and Thistle only just maintained their two goal advantage on the hour mark when the ball crashed back off Scott Fox’s crossbar. In Falkirk’s next attack Blair Alston was able to test Fox with a low drive, but the Thistle keeper was well placed to save.
Even with the comfort of a two goal lead Thistle weren’t in any position to relax and in the 77th minute Scott Fox made an important save to keep out Blair Alston’s effort from point blank range.
That was the last real moment of anxiety as Thistle went on to complete a deserved 3-1 victory.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Falkirk – 11th August 2012

 

Optimism is always high before the start of the season and Thistle proved yesterday that there was good reason for that optimism, opening the season with a 3-1 win over Falkirk.
Although naturally delighted to have started the league campaign with three points, Thistle boss Jackie McNamara felt that there is more to come from his side when he spoke after the game.

“I think we could have played better at times. Full credit to Falkirk though who after going 2-0 behind put us under a wee bit of pressure. I felt that we stopped passing the ball as well as we had been doing and things got a little anxious. Falkirk then scored at the start of the second half but the pleasing thing for me was that we went on and scored a third goal to give us a bit of breathing space. As I said, I think we can play better than that but I was really pleased with the lads attitudes and desire and obviously with the three points.”
“We’ve a lot of players in the team at the moment with real desire and that’s something that you can’t really coach. There’s a desire to get the ball and a desire not to give anything away and it is very pleasing to see that.”
“I said to the lads at half-time that the next goal in the game would be crucial. Falkirk scored that third goal and they got a lift from it but as I said the pleasing thing was that we were able to respond to the loss of that goal.”
Scorer of the second and third goals, Kris Doolan, collected the Man of the Match award after the game and the manager was quick to praise his contribution while also emphasising the options he has up front.
“I think we have some good options in that area of the park. We have Kris Doolan, Chris Erskine was up there and Christie Elliott came on while big Mark McGuigan was on the bench so we certainly have options up front. I thought Kris Doolan lead the line really well today and he helped bring other players into play. I thought he was tremendous as was Scott Fox at the other end.”
There’s plenty of competition for places in the side at the moment and before yesterday’s game the manager had a tough decision to choose between Stuart Bannigan and Aaron Sinclair for a starting berth in the team.
“It was a hard decision to decide between Stuart Bannigan and Aaron Sinclair. Stuart though has been excellent since the tail end of last season and although Aaron was excellent up at Forfar I thought for the balance of the team it was best to go with Stuart. It was a tough decision and I told Aaron on Friday that he wouldn’t start today but that there are a lot of games to play this season, starting on Tuesday against Queen’s Park.”
Yesterday’s win and all round positive start to the season hasn’t taken the manager by surprise.
“It’s not a surprise. I know that the players have the ability and I told them that at the end of last season. It’s possibly a matter of belief and confidence comes with winning games and hopefully that is something that we can continue to do. I think adding the right kind of players with the right mentality has helped. Hugh Murray really organises things in the middle of the park and the other new players have come in and done well so far. There is a real hunger in the team right now. Last season at times I felt that the players just accepted things  but now I know that even if you can’t play well every week, the boys will give everything that they have.”
Finally Jackie had a few words of praise for the Thistle fans who helped create such a good atmosphere inside the ground.
“I think it was a great advertisement for our league. There were a lot of young players on the pitch but everyone tried to pass the ball and play the game the right way. There was a good crowd and I thought that our support were fantastic. The whole game, from start to finish, was a good one.”
Falkirk manager Stephen Pressley meantime was in full agreement on Jackie’s assessment of the quality of the game.
“I thought that Thistle played well and it was a game between two teams trying to play football the right way. Thistle obviously made a great start but that aside I didn’t think there was much in the game. Pleasing thing for me was the fact that we didn’t fold after losing those two early goals. We got back into the game and then lost a set piece goal. We just made the wrong decision at three crucial stages of the game.”

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