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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Wed 10 April, 2013. Kick Off: - 19:45
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Stuart Bannigan
5
Andy Dowie
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
Sean Welsh
8
James Craigen
9
Kris Doolan
10
Ross Forbes (Steve Lawless (16), 71 mins)
11
Chris Erskine (Christie Elliott (15), 81 mins)
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Steven Craig
15
Christie Elliott
16
Steve Lawless
17
Alan Archibald
Greenock Morton
1
Derek Gaston
2
Craig Reid
3
Thomas O'Ware (Scott Taggart (12), 46 mins)
4
Fouad Bachirou
5
Kevin Rutkiewicz
6
Mark McLaughlin (Kyle Wilkie (15), 76 mins)
7
Colin McMenamin (Archie Campbell (14), 68 mins)
8
Michael Tidser
9
Peter MacDonald
10
Martin Hardie
11
David O'Brien
 
Subs
12
Scott Taggart
14
Archie Campbell
15
Kyle Wilkie
16
David Graham
20
David Hutton
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Steven Craig
15
Christie Elliott
16
Steve Lawless
17
Alan Archibald
 
Subs
12
Scott Taggart
14
Archie Campbell
15
Kyle Wilkie
16
David Graham
20
David Hutton
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton – 10th April 2013

The big games keep on coming at the moment. After Sunday’s disappointment in the Ramsdens Cup Final against Queen of the South this evening we welcome Morton to Firhill for as big a league game we’ve played for some time.
ptfc.co.uk spoke to manager Alan Archibald yesterday evening as he made his way to the Hamilton v Airdrie United match and he sees tonight’s match as being the perfect game to have after Sunday’s penalty defeat.

“It’s the perfect game to try and bounce back in. There should be a big crowd at this game and if the reaction to our late equaliser on Sunday told us anything; it was how much these things mean to our supporters. The backing that we received on Sunday, as its’ been all season, was fantastic and we know that the fans will be right behind us against Morton.”
Training on Monday, as you might imagine, was a little subdued but the manager felt it was a positive experience.
“Win or lose, it was always our plan to have the players in for training on Monday. They were understandably down after the events of the day before but having the players in gave us the opportunity to speak about what happened, stress to them that, Sunday aside, they’ve been outstanding for much of this season and it gave us all a chance to put that game behind us and concentrate on the Morton match.”
Alan continued;
“It should be an open game which will hopefully suit us but we know that we will have to pass the ball much better than we did on Tuesday and we’ll need to play with a much higher tempo. It’s important that we get a positive reaction from the players and to be fair on previous occasions this season when the players have been asked for a positive reaction they’ve produced just that.”
The performance of his three substitutes on Sunday was one positive to emerge from the game and Alan admitted that he hadn’t quite settled on what his team for tonight’s game is going to be.
“I haven’t decided on the team yet and I’ll think a few things over. The three subs on Sunday all made an impact and they will certainly be in my thoughts for this game. It’s been a frustrating time for Ross Forbes recently but I got a really positive response from him on Sunday; the kind of response that you want. He’s been unlucky not to be playing as we didn’t want to change a winning team besides in a run of away games we were perhaps looking for more graft than craft.”
The manager was able to reveal that most players came through Sunday’s game without any real injury problems.
“There were a few bumps and bruises after the game but everyone should be fine. Hugh Murray and Paul Paton, and we could maybe have done with their experience on Sunday, are still out. Paul was back running on Monday and he stepped that up today as well and did some turning. I wouldn’t read too much into that though. I said when Paul first picked up his injury that he could be out for 3 days or 3 weeks; you just didn’t know with that type of knock. To be honest things aren’t any clearer now. Our only other doubt surrounds Jordan McMillan who is still unwell.”
We will, of course, be without the services of Aaron Muirhead and the manager gave us his thoughts on the news that Aaron will face a SFA disciplinary hearing.
“We were going to be without Aaron for three games anyway and we now face the prospect of being without him for the remainder of the season which would obviously be a blow. The fact that the incident took place in a national cup final and live on TV probably won’t work in his favour. He obviously shouldn’t have reacted in the way that he did but he’s a young lad from Dumfries and he has just missed a penalty in the last minute of a cup final and suddenly he’s has a player right in his face. I think a lot of people would have reacted the way that he did and I don’t think anyone comes out of it great to be honest. I’ve spoken to Aaron and to be fair he knows himself that he’s let himself and the team down. He’s a young lad and the important thing now is that he learns from this and be aware that people might try and provoke a reaction from him in the future.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
3              2*           0              12           3
(* one of the draws ended in a 6-5 defeat on penalties)
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Kris Doolan 15
Steven Craig 14
Chris Erskine 14
Steven Lawless 13
Conrad Balatoni 5
Stuart Bannigan 4
Ross Forbes 4
Aaron Muirhead 4
Christie Elliott 2
Stephen O’Donnell 2
Aaron Sinclair 2
Sean Welsh 2
James Craigen 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Ramsdens Cup Final
Sunday April 7th 2013
Partick Thistle 1, Queen of the South 1
Queen of the South won 6-5 on penalties
Morton Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
4              0              1              15           5
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Peter MacDonald 15
Peter Weatherson 12
Archie Campbell 12
Michael Tidser 15
Martin Hardie 8
David O’Brien 8
Tony Wallace 3
David Graham 2
Mark McLaughlin 2
Colin McMenamin 2
Kevin Rutkiewicz 2
Stephen Stirling 2
Scott Taggart 2
Kyle Wilkie 2
Fouad Bachirou 1
Lewis Hawke 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday April 6th 2013
Morton 5, Airdrie United 2
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday February 16th 2013
Morton 2, Partick Thistle 2
Teams
Morton: Gaston, Taggart, Dyer, Bachirou (Weatherson), Rutkiewicz, O’Ware, Wilkie, Tidser, MacDonald, McMenamin (Graham), O’Brien.
Thistle: Fox, Welsh, Sinclair, Paton, Muirhead, Balatoni, Murray, Bannigan, Craig (O’Donnell), Forbes (Lawless), Erskine (Doolan).
Scorers
Morton: MacDonald (58, 81)
Thistle: Erskine (9), Craig (47)
Crowd: 5,647
Match Highlights

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Wednesday April 10th 2013
Partick Thistle v Morton
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Prices
Adults: £17
OAP (65+): £12
16-21: £12
Full Time Education: £12
Under 16s: FREE
Programme £2.50
Match Officials
Referee: Brian Colvin
Assistant Referees: Raymond Whyte and David Cockburn

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton – 10th April 2013

Neither manager saw this fixture as a title decider but given the size of the crowd that assembled at Firhill to see it nobody could underplay the potential significance of it.
It was in many ways the best possible fixture for Thistle to have so soon after the Ramsdens Cup Final disappointment and Alan Archibald made three changes to his team from that game. In place of the suspended Aaron Muirhead came in Andy Dowie to make his Thistle debut second time around, Kris Doolan was preferred to Steven Craig up front and Ross Forbes started for the first time since the 2-0 win at Hamilton as Steven Lawless dropped to the bench.
Kick-off was delayed for 17 minutes to allow the near 9,000 crowd into the ground and the opening exchanges was understandably a little nervy. Of the two teams it was probably Morton that settled the quicker but they were unable to trouble the Thistle defence. Only once in the opening quarter of the game was Scott Fox called upon to make a save and even then David O’Brien’s low drive didn’t present him with any undue problems.
Thistle too weren’t creating too many chances but the longer the half went on the more they began to assert themselves on the game. Both Stephen O’Donnell, from the right, and Ross Forbs from the left swung over dangerous ball that the Morton defence were hard pressed to deal with and in the 33rd minute Thistle came the closet yet to taking the lead. Stuart Bannigan put the ball into the box from the left hand side and Kris Doolan was able to glance a header towards goal but couldn’t quite direct the ball wide of Gaston.
Sean Welsh shot over the bar from 25 yards out as Thistle upped the pace and with half-time just 4 minutes away they took the lead. Chris Erskine gathered the ball at the left hand corner of the box and his back post cross was met by James Craigen and he fired the ball home.
A Morton onslaught was expected at the start of the second half but while Thistle did at times find themselves a little hemmed in they dealt comfortably enough with what a Morton side, looking a little devoid of ideas, had to offer. They were on a number of occasions able to win free kicks in dangerous positions near the Thistle goal but weren’t once able to profit from them.
The more Morton pressed the more you got the sense that Thistle could pick them off on the break and exploit the gaps that they were leaving. They may well have done so had they shown a little more composure in the final third of the field.
In the 73rd minute Chris Erskine pushed a pass through to Kris Doolan who was tireless throughout the 90 minutes. Kris did well to keep the ball in play but when he lifted the ball back towards goal there was no Thistle player on hand to attack the ball.
Two minutes later Doolan was again in the thick of the action as Thistle once more threatened Morton on the counter attack. Kris ignored Steven Lawless to his right and elected to shot for goal himself. His shot from 25 yards was well enough struck but Gaston, although scrambling a little, was able to make a relatively comfortable save.
With the noise levels off the park growing all the time you sensed that Morton were simply not going to find a way through a Thistle defence that was in no mood to concede.
The celebrations on and off the park at full-time underlined just how significant this result could prove to be but nobody inside Firhill is fooled into thinking that it’s job done but a return to the top flight of Scottish Football is almost within touching range.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton – 10th April 2013

When [link:HOME] spoke with Alan Archibald after last night’s win the sound of celebrating Thistle fans, even some 30 minutes or so after the final whistle, were clearly audible in the background. It was in sharp contrast to the bitter disappointment of Sunday, the manager himself commenting;
“You couldn’t make it up. To go from the low of Sunday to the high of that is just incredible. The boys are a credit to themselves and a credit to the club with the way the bounced back from 120 minutes of football on Sunday.”
There was praise from the manager for his players overall fitness during what has been demanding run of fixtures.
“I’ve said all along that I know how fit the boys are. They’ve showed great energy levels throughout the season. They showed that again tonight right to the last minute. They were chasing down things and working for each other. My only concern with the games mounting up and with all the games in hand was if we picked up knocks along the way, not with the players overall fitness.”
Like most of us the manager was blown away by the level of support last night and the size of the crowd.
“Even going back to the two promotions I was part of there wasn’t a turn out of Thistle fans like that. There was never a turn out like that for just one game. Probably the last time was the Ayr United game when we got relegated. I remember the kick-off being delayed that day and people walking across the pitch. At least there was a better ending tonight than there was that day.”
Did the delay to the kick-off upset the preparations any?
“Not really, I was aware that it might happen. Ian Maxwell said to be today that there might be a hold up. There’s a lot of nervous energy with the lads and it’s not a great thing to do. You need to decide whether you stay on the pitch for a bit longer or go back into the dressing room when you can seize up a bit. I thought that the players reacted to it well though.”
The winning goal was scored by James Craigen a player who has really made a big impact over the last couple of months. Said Alan;
“James was the first player to chap my door after Jackie left. I hadn’t really changed the team and when he came to see me I told him that he would get his chance and he has done and since he grabbed that chance he has been outstanding. His energy levels were fantastic again tonight and I was delighted that he got the goal.”
There was praise too for Andy Dowie who was making his Thistle debut, second time around, last night.
“It was his first game in a few weeks and he’s not played a game with the lads and we’ve not, with the way things have been going with all the games, had what I would call a proper training session. He just went into the team and slotted right in and I thought he was outstanding. Andy had been coming to all the games, had been seeing the way that we play and that shows great professionalism and I thought that he helped the team tonight.”
Five points clear is a strong position to be in at this late stage of the season but nobody at Firhill is thinking that the job has been done; far from it.
“I said to Allan Moore that this game wasn’t a title decider by any means; we all know what this league is like. One bad result for us and one good result for them allows them to get back at us the way that our draw at Raith Rovers last week did. It is very much a case of one game at a time and we have a score to settle at Airdrie as we dropped points there the last time when we had a wee bad run earlier in the season.”
After the players’ efforts last night, and over the course of the last few months, Thursday means a well deserved day off for them.
“It was always our plan to give them a day off tomorrow regardless of the result. They’ve probably be in seven days a week over the last couple of months. We don’t seem to have picked up any knocks last night and any that have will be in but the players have really looked after themselves the last couple of months.”

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