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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Wed 21 January, 2015. Kick Off: - 19:45
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
12
Paul Gallacher
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Daniel Seaborne
7
James Craigen
9
Kris Doolan (Nathan Eccleston (19), 80 mins)
10
Ryan Stevenson
11
Steven Lawless
1
Frederic Frans
Christie Elliott
Kallum Higginbotham (Declan McDaid (28), 72 mins)
Abdul Osman (Sean Welsh (4), 69 mins)
 
Subs
40
Scott Basalaj (GK)
4
Sean Welsh
6
Conrad Balatoni
19
Nathan Eccleston
23
David Wilson
28
Declan McDaid
30
Dale Keenan
Hamilton Academical
1
Michael McGovern
3
Stephen Hendrie
4
Mikey Devlin (Craig Watson (16), 51 mins)
6
Grant Gillespie
7
Dougie Imrie
8
Jon Routledge (Louis Longridge (17), 46 mins)
11
Ali Crawford
18
Darian MacKinnon
22
Anthony Andreu
24
Jesús García Tena
99
Mickael Antoine-Curier (Eamonn Brophy (20), 65 mins)
 
Subs
29
Darren Hill (GK)
16
Craig Watson
17
Louis Longridge
20
Eamonn Brophy
21
Greg Docherty
26
Ali El-Zubaidi
28
Danny Redmond
 
Subs
40
Scott Basalaj (GK)
4
Sean Welsh
6
Conrad Balatoni
19
Nathan Eccleston
23
David Wilson
28
Declan McDaid
30
Dale Keenan
 
Subs
29
Darren Hill (GK)
16
Craig Watson
17
Louis Longridge
20
Eamonn Brophy
21
Greg Docherty
26
Ali El-Zubaidi
28
Danny Redmond
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical – 21st January 2015

As Thistle enter their final preparations for tonight’s game against Hamilton Accies, Alan Archibald has a slightly fuller squad to choose from.

“Bannigan is suspended but we should have a couple of bodies back. Sean Welsh is still struggling, Christie Elliott has a knock as does Stephen O’Donnell, but we’ll give them every chance. Obviously Jordan McMillan is still out too.”

Hopefully the fact that a few first team regulars are are now back available will mean Archie isn’t needing to call on the younger members of the squad, as has been the case in recent weeks.

“It was a big ask for them, they came in against Dundee United and did really well, acquitted themselves brilliantly. We’ve used the younger lads sparingly since the start of the season and sometimes you need to call on them in a bigger way than we might have liked but that’s football.

“They’ve been training with us all season and they deserve to be in and around the squad for the hard work they’ve put in already. They’re great kids and they certainly aren’t fazed by the experience, they showed that in the Dundee United game.

“You see it every day in training, when the likes of Ryan Stevenson and Kallum Higginbotham are giving these lads the ball you know then that they trust them and that they are good enough.”

There are plenty of similarities between the Jags boss and Hamilton’s interim manager.

“It’s a very similar situation. He’s obviously proved himself and if he does well I’m sure he’ll get a chance. When you take over a team that is doing well it’s mainly about continuity. As long as the players respect you then that’s half the battle. From there you just have to stick to your principles and beliefs, if you do that then you won’t go far wrong.”

Archibald is the first to admit that it is a massive few weeks for Thistle and that the team needs to start picking up wins again if they are to achieve the league position they are capable of.

“We’ve not been able to get on a run and the fact that we have had games called off in the interim hasn’t helped. We’ve been saying it all season  but we need to go on a run and put together a couple of back to back wins. If we can do that the confidence within the team will build and I think we can kick on from there.”

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical – 21st January 2015

Thistle welcomed a Hamilton Accies side still flying high in the top half of the table with the Jags looking to bounce back from the disappointing result up in Perth.

Manager, Alan Archibald, was able to make changes from the side that lost to Saints with Frederic Frans, Christie Elliott, James Craigen and Kallum Higginbotham all returning to the starting line-up. Elliott lined up at left back as Dale Keenan dropped to the bench alongside Conrad Balatoni. Kiwi, Scott Basalaj, took his place on the bench instead of the injured Scott Fox. There was also a welcome return for club captain Sean Welsh who also featured among the Thistle subs.

The home side were the first to threaten when a brilliant piece of skill from Ryan Stevenson, taking a high ball on his knee, allowed him to send a first time pass behind the Accies defence for Higginbotham to burst through. Unfortunately for the returning winger, the Accies defence recovered, and Higginbotham went down under a challenge.

Accies’ Crawford fired a couple of shots just wide of Gallacher’s post as the visitors looked to catch the Jags defence on the hop. Thistle looked dangerous throughout the opening skirmishes though and Stephen O’Donnell worked himself some space on the right before cutting inside on to his left foot. Unfortunately for the in demand right back his shot was easily saved by McGovern.

It was Accies that would strike next catching Thistle on the break as Crawford drove forward before passing to Antoine-Curier who thankfully he dragged his 18 yard shot wide of the target.

It was Gallacher who had his gloves warmed first as Devlin forced a good save from the veteran keeper, with a header as both sides looked for the opener. O’Donnell hit another effort wide and Stevenson could do little with a cross fired straight at his head before Thistle drew first blood.

The Jags opened the scoring after 29 minutes, O’Donnell’s long throw was headed clear to the edge of the box, Higginbotham fired a rasping shot which McGovern did well to parry. It was Stevenson who reacted quickest flicking the ball across the box and Doolan tapped the ball home into an empty net from two yards out. 1-0 Thistle.

The home side now had their tails up and a Frans header flashed across the box, just wide. Higginbotham then skinned two defenders but his cross was too firm to coax a touch out of any of the Thistle front men.

O’Donnell linked up well with Higginbotham, as they did all nght, and got himself into the box, looking certain to get a shot away, only to get the ball caught in his feet and see the chance disappear.

In the 43rd minute Lawless flashed a shot inches wide after great build up involving Stevenson, O’Donnell and Doolan and, unfortunately for the visitors, it was a sign of things to come as sixty seconds later it was 2-0.

Lawless dug out a great cross and Doolan brilliantly controlled the ball, turned his man and fired low and powerfully past McGovern to give the home side a two goal lead at half time.

Thistle continued on the front foot and, in the 50th minute, it should have been three. Lawless slipped his man and curled a wonderful effort that smashed off the bar and fell to Stevenson just five yards out with the goal gaping. Thistle’s number 10 took a touch and it allowed McGovern to scramble across and save. On another day that might have been a sign of things to come for Thistle but not this night as, on the hour mark, Thistle did get a third.

Lawless did brilliantly to win a header at the edge of the box that found Doolan, he collected the ball with his back to goal and cheekily back heeled the ball past the stunned McGovern to make it 3-0 and complete his first senior hat-trick.

Neither Dools or Thistle were finished though.

Just 80 seconds after the third a magnificent O’Donnell cross on the right was met by the head of Doolan who seemed to hang in the air before powering the header home giving McGovern no chance whatsoever. It was party time at Firhill.

Sean Welsh made his return to the pitch in the 69th minute and McDaid came on too, as Thistle continued to pour forward.

Doolan nearly grabbed himself a fifth when brilliant play from McDaid and Lawless saw Dools right foot volley saved on the line by McGovern.

Lawless, who played well but had no luck in front of goal, then saw his 20yard shot saved before, in the 89th minute, the Jags scored a fifth.

McDaid did brilliantly to beat his man and drive forward, he fed the ball to Lawless who sent Elliott flying down the wing. His left foot cross was met by substitute, Eccleston, whose effort was brilliantly saved by McGovern. Eccleston was sharp though and reacted quickest to slot home and make the final score 5-0.

A faultless performance from the Jags and, while one man will rightly take the plaudits, make no mistake, this was a fantastic team performance from back to front.

Thistle: Gallacher, O’Donnell, Seaborne, Frans, Elliott, Osman (69), Craigen, Higginbotham (72), Stevenson, Lawless, Doolan (80)

Subs: Basalaj, Welsh (Osman), Balatoni, Eccleston (Doolan), Wilson, McDaid (Higginbotham), Keenan

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical – 21st January 2015

It was a special night for Jags fans as Kris Doolan scored four goals to help Thistle to a tremendous 5-0 victory over high flying Hamilton Accies. Thistle boss, Alan Archibald, couldn’t hide his delight when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk shortly after the full time whistle.

“I think that is definitely one of the best performances I have seen in my time in charge. We matched them all over the pitch and everything seemed to come off for us. Each of our players worked ever so hard and i think you could see that in the performance and the result.

“Everybody knows how hard Hamilton work but we went and matched them for pace, power and work rate. We got our goals at the right time, going into half time only 1-0 up is always dangerous so to get a second so close to the break was perfect, that set us up perfectly for the second half.”

Although the team performed well as a whole the finishing, from one man in particular, was of the highest quality.

“After the St Johnstone game we said we didn’t work their keeper anywhere near hard enough. We never really got the ball in behind their back four and that cost us. It was the total opposite tonight and I think every time we got forward we felt as though we could hurt them. Dools was a big part of that and his finishing was world class tonight.

“His [Doolan’s] back heel will no doubt get the plaudits but I thought his header was superb too. The build up play from us helped Kris a lot and that was a big difference when you look at us tonight compared to Saturday. To be fair their goalie has a great save to keep Lawless’s shot out, I thought that was going in too to be honest.”

Although Thistle put themselves in an extremely strong position going into the break the gaffer was wary not to take them too lightly.

“Even at two nil we still know they can hurt us – just look at them against United last week – so it was vital we started the second half just as strongly.”

Man of the match was obviously Kris Doolan and, according to his manager, the striker was disappointed when he was subbed, despite his four goals!

Archie said: “Yea, I think he wanted to stay on and try to get five! We were talking about it before the game saying that he had been on a better run this time last season. Dools has been in and out of the team this term but that’s what you get from him, he’s the model professional. That performance will give him a massive confidence boost and hopefully he can kick on from there. That’s why we took him off to be honest, we have a massive game on Saturday and need all of our top guys as fit as they possibly can be.”

The nature of tonight’s result may have come as a shock to some but Archibald felt something of this magnitude was on the way.

“I think it has been bubbling under, at home especially. We’ve really just needed that kick, an opportunity to show what we can do when everybody is on form at the same time. That certainly came today. I think we’ve been close to that kind of result before but never quite killed teams off.

“The important thing is that we go and build on that. We’ve let ourselves down before when we’ve been in this situation so we just need to make sure we do the business on Saturday away to Kilmarnock. If we play anywhere near like we played today I have no doubt we can get the win at Rugby Park too.”

More video reaction will be available online soon exclusively to TAG members, including interviews with Alan Archibald and four goal hero, Kris Doolan.

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