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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 23 September, 2017. Kick Off: - 16:00
The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
12
Ryan Scully
4
Jordan Turnbull
5
Niall Keown
7
Blair Spittal
9
Kris Doolan (Stuart Bannigan 76)
13
Adam Barton
14
Christie Elliott (Milan Nitriansky 65)
15
Daniel Devine
16
Paul McGinn
19
Ryan Edwards
39
Miles Storey (Kevin Nisbet 90)
 
Subs
23
Jamie Sneddon
8
Stuart Bannigan
11
Steven Lawless
17
Milan Nitriansky
20
Kevin Nisbet
24
Andrew McCarthy
Hearts
1
Jon McLaughlin
2
Michael Smith (Manuel Milinkovic 73)
4
John Souttar
5
Aaron Hughes
6
Christophe Berra
7
Jamie Walker
15
Don Cowie (Rory Currie 87)
16
Connor Randall
27
Rafal Grzelak (Ashley Smith-Brown 52)
20
Ross Callachan
77
Isma Goncalves
 
Subs
13
Jack Hamilton
3
Ashley Smith-Brown
8
Prince Buaben
11
Manuel Milinkovic
23
Cole Stockton
25
Rory Currie
43
Euan Henderson
 
Subs
23
Jamie Sneddon
8
Stuart Bannigan
11
Steven Lawless
17
Milan Nitriansky
20
Kevin Nisbet
24
Andrew McCarthy
 
Subs
13
Jack Hamilton
3
Ashley Smith-Brown
8
Prince Buaben
11
Manuel Milinkovic
23
Cole Stockton
25
Rory Currie
43
Euan Henderson
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Hearts – 23rd September 2017

After the disappointment of exiting the Betfred Cup on Tuesday night, Alan Archibald sat down with ptfc.co.uk to look towards Saturday afternoon’s clash with Hearts.

The match will see the Jags continue the search for that elusive first Ladbrokes Premiership victory and also marks the first match in a six game run that could go a long way toward shaping Thistle’s season.

The Jags boss began by looking back on the Rangers double header.

“There are a lot of positives to take from the last two games. They were both good performances and we scored good goals in both games. We now need to take those positives into the Hearts game and work hard to get that first league win that we’re still looking for.”

With a series of incredibly tough fixtures now out of the way Thistle will face the teams around them in the league in a crucial run of six games:

“We’ve now got a run of fixtures where we should really be looking to pick up some points and we’re all well aware of that. All the other managers will be saying exactly the same though and will be targeting us for points. It’s vital that we take points from these fixtures, that’s the most important thing. Even at this early stage these games start to look like six pointers.

“Even when you look at this week’s fixtures elsewhere all the teams around us are playing each other an will start to take points off each other. It’s just very important that we look after our own business and start getting points on the table after our difficult start.

“We did really well last year in terms of taking points from the teams around us and that was the foundation on which we built our push for the top six. If we can do a similar thing this season it will prove massively beneficial.

“The end of this month and the whole of October are going to be absolutely vital for us. We have four out of the next six matches at home which is a big bonus and something we need to be looking to take full advantage of. It’s in sharp contrast to November where we’ve got a run of three tough games all away from home so we need to make the most of it while we have the opportunity.”

The big news from Gorgie in recent weeks is the change of manager with Craig Levein taking over since the Jags last played the Jambos. Although it’s another new face in the dugout for the season Archie is nos stranger to Levein’s methods.

“I think Craig was obviously desperate to get that first win and they got it on Saturday – even if they actually played better the week before. They have a strong squad and that’s something everyone can see. I know they were on a bad run at the end of last season and coming into this but they have quality players throughout that side and it allows them to make a number of strong positive changes.

“I worked under Levein for a period of time and the one thing you can guarantee is that he will be absolutely meticulous in his planning for the game. He’ll have the players well drilled and prepared for everything they might face.”

With two games in quick succession it might be understandable if the players were jaded or tired but, according to Archibald, this certainly is not the case.

“I don’t think they were anywhere near as fatigued as what we had expected. They had Wednesday off as usual and they’re now ready and raring to go. They’re in good spirit both mentally and physically. I think they realise we put a lot into the games – both Friday night and Tuesday – but didn’t get what maybe we deserved. The disappointment was sore from the other night but hopefully all the good spells and periods we’ve had in games so far come together for a victory on Saturday.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Kris Doolan and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald are now available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight.

Can’t make The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone World members (outside the UK and Ireland) can watch the game live – the stream is also available on a PPV basis. Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match.

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 © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.

96’Full Time Report

Thistle are left waiting for their first win of the season despite an impressive display against Hearts. 

 
95’Full Time
 
90’+05’

Nisbet's curling effort that produces a comfortable save is the last action of the game. 

 
90’+04’

McGinn's cross is pushed away with no Thistle player to get to the loose ball. 

 
90’+02’

Thistle break through Nisbet. He pushes the ball to Barton to his right but he can';t find the net. 

90’Thistle substitution: Kevin Nisbet replaces Miles Storey
89’Thistle corner from the left
 
87’

Hearts make a real mess of a free kick in a dangerous position. 

87’Hearts substitution: Rory Currie replaces Don Cowie
86’Thistle Booking - Daniel Devine
 
85’

Man of the Match: Blair Spittal

 
84’

McGinn's cross is flicked goalwards by Storey whose effort is blocked by the keeper with Bannigan's follow up shot also blocked. 

 
83’

Highly optimistic shouts for a penalty from the Hearts fans as a player hits the deck inside the Thistle box. 

79’Goal Hearts! Ross Callachan
Thistle 1 - Hearts 1

Thistle are caught out by a quickly taken corner. Milinkovic's header is judged to have just crossed the line despite a frantic last ditch attempt to head clear. 

78’Hearts corner from the left
76’Thistle substitution: Stuart Bannigan replaces Kris Doolan
74’Hearts Booking - Jamie Walker

The most obvious hand ball ever results in a yellow card. 

73’Hearts substitution: Manuel Milinkovic replaces Michael Smith
 
72’

Randall shoots for goal and this time his effort sails over the bar. 

 
72’

Thistle clear the corner but remain under pressure. 

71’Hearts corner from the right

Scully is forced to tip a Randall shot over the bar. 

 
69’

Good run down the right from Nitriansky but his cross aimed for Spittal is cleared. 

 
67’

McGinn has gone over to the left to replace Elliott as Nitriansky slots in on the right hand side. 

 
66’

McGinn whips the ball off the toes of Souttar as he bares down on goal. 

65’Thistle substitution: Milan Nitriansky replaces Christie Elliott
 
65’

Thistle down to 10 at the moment as they get ready to make a change. 

 
64’

Elliott looks to be struggling to put any weight on his right foot. 

 
62’

Break in play as Elliott receives some treatment after he and Cowie collide going for the ball. Cowie is back up but Eliiott remains down and looks in a little pain. 

 
61’

Cowie aims a low corner to the edge of the ball where Goncalves spins before shooting wide. 

60’Hearts corner from the right
 
58’

Cowie's shot doesn't present Scully with any problems as the Thistle keeper makes a comfortable catch. 

 
57’

Berra fouls Doolan on the halfway line. The defender can't be too far away from a second yellow card. 

 
53’

There is no offside when Storey gets in behind the Hearts defence on the right hand side. His cut back for Doolan is cleared with the Thistle striker waiting to pounce. 

52’Hearts substitution: Ashley Smith-Brown replaces Rafal Grzelak
 
51’

Walker lets fly with a shot from nearly 35 yards out that can't have been too far wide of Scully's left hand post. 

 
50’

Elliott and Storey combine well down the left on the counter attack but Elliott's return pass to Spittal is a shade too strong. 

 
48’

A great surge into the Hearts box from Storey nearly leads to a second goal but the ball just won't fall fir a Thistle player and when Spittal shoots his effort spins off a defender to safety. 

47’Thistle corner from the right
 
46’

Thistle are a little slack defensively at the start of the second half but a Goncalves header is well wide of target. 

 
45’Kick-Off (2nd half)
45’Half Time Report

There was a large slice of good fortune surrounding the goal but Thistle's 1-0 lead at the interval is well deserved. 

Blair Spittal's effort in the 18th minute shouldn't have caused McLaughlin any problems but he allowed the ball to go through his body and into the net. 

Spittal has been in excellent form as Thistle got stronger and stronger as the half wore on with Spittal coming close and Barton seeing a header cleared off the line. 

 
45’Half-Time
 
45’

Scully claims the ball as the corner is headed goalward. 

44’Hearts corner from the left
 
43’

A Storey cross from the right takes a deflection which allows Barton to get his head to the ball and his header is cleared off the line. The ball falls to Spittal who miscues his shot and the ball is cleared. 

 
42’

Spittal sticks the ball between the legs of Randall before shooting over the bar from 20 yards or so out. 

 
41’

An Elliott cross into the box results in a comfortable catch for McLaughlin. 

 
40’

Spittal looks to be fouled at the corner of the Hearts box but there is no free kick. 

 
39’

Spittal whips over a cross from the right that Hearts are happy to get clear. 

 
39’

Thistle win a throw down by the Hearts corner flag. 

 
36’

A Berra shot is blocked at the edge of the box. 

 
35’

Spittal's cleverly taken free kick finds Storey on the right. He crosses but Keown can't get his header on target. 

34’Hearts Booking - Christophe Berra

Berra collects a yellow card for a foul on an advancing McGinn. 

 
31’

Goncalves skips by a challenge and gets into the Thistle box but his cross is anticipated and cleared by Devine. 

 
28’

Spittal's pass to McGinn looks just a little over hit but McGinn very nearly squeezes the ball home at the near post with McLaughlin saving. 

 
27’

Thistle appeal in vain for a corner as Storey's pace again cause Hearts problems down the left. 

 
27’

Souttar has a bit of space about 35 yards from the Thistle goal after collecting a pass from Goncalves. His shot goes way over the bar though. 

25’Hearts corner from the right
 
24’

Storey is able to collect an Elliott pass and cuts in from the left. His shot from the corner of the box lacks power and it is an easy save for the keeper. 

 
20’

Spittal's corner is far too near McLaughlin and this time he doesn't get a helping hand from the Hearts keeper. 

20’Thistle corner from the right
19’Hearts corner from the left
18’Goal Thistle! Blair Spittal
Thistle 1 - Hearts 0

Thistle take the lead with a moment that McLaughlin will want to forget. A drop of the shoulder takes Spittal into an excellent position but his shot is poor and shouldn't cause the keeper any problems but he allows the ball to go through his legs and into the net. 

 
17’

Scully makes a confident catch to claim a cross from the right. 

 
15’

The ball is touched back to Walker at the edge of the Thistle box but he can do no better than drag a poor shot well wide of the thistle goal. 

 
13’

Turnbull wins the ball in defence to halt a Hearts attack before knocking a pass down the line for Storey to chase wide on the left. He whips over a cross that although McLaughlin can't gather cleanly can't find Doolan the only Thistle player in the box. 

 
09’

Randall shoots wide. 

 
08’

Scully is called into action with a save low to his right. 

 
06’

It's Thistle though that have the first shot on goal. Spittal gathers the ball and advances with it. He ignores Storey to his right and elects to shoot for goal himself. He drags his effort wide though. 

 
03’

It's Hearts that have settled the better in the early minutes but no chances at either end.

 
00’Kick-Off
 
00’Introduction

It's back to the search for league points at The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill with Hearts the visitors.

In search of that all important first 3 point haul of the season Alan Archibald has made two changes to the side that went down in extra-time to Rangers on Tuesday night.

Into the starting line-up come Kris Doolan, who wears the captain's armband, and Miles Storey.

Steven Lawless is the player that drops to the bench while Conor Sammon is unable to play against his parent club as per the terms of his loan deal.

The pitch is looking in great condition and with a sizeable away support expected there should be a great atmospehre inside the ground this afternoon.

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Hearts – 23rd September 2017

Following their extra-time Betfred Cup elimination at the hands of Rangers on Tuesday night, Partick Thistle returned to league action with a meeting with Hearts at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. After six games, they remained winless in the Ladbrokes Premiership but came into the game two league matches unbeaten after successive draws with Ross County and then Rangers.

The visitors came into the match after a change in manager had brought them better fortunes. Craig Levein took over at Tynecastle at the end of August and in the two matches since his appointment, the Jambos had drawn with Aberdeen and scored a victory over Hamilton.

Thistle started with Ryan Scully in goals as Tomas Cerny remained absent with a stomach muscle injury. Alan Archibald stuck with the three centre-half set-up as Niall Keown, Daniel Devine and Jordan Turnbull retained their places in the starting line-up. Christie Elliott and Paul McGinn were the wing-backs while Adam Barton and Ryan Edwards started in central midfield. The team began the match with a somewhat unfamiliar front line formation. Miles Storey and Kris Doolan started up front in a two while Blair Spittal sat in the number ten role as Chris Erskine served out the second and final game of his suspension.

It was the hosts who created the first chance of the game when Blair Spittal went close in the sixth minute. Spittal gathered the ball and advanced forward with it. He ignored the option of Miles Storey to his right and shot for goal himself.  He dragged his effort wide of the far post, however and the danger ended.

It was Blair Spittal at the centre of things again in the 18th minute but this time he made more of his opportunity as he netted the opener. Spittal picked up the ball on the Thistle right and shifted past his marker. He then used a drop of the shoulder to evade Aaron Hughes before shooting on goal. His effort was straight at the ‘keeper but Jon McLaughlin made a mess of the save and let the shot through his legs as the Jags took the lead.

The game then went through a period where only half-chances were had. Blair Spittal and John Souttar both saw long-range efforts fly over the bar and Paul McGinn went close with a cross-come-shot that had to be saved at the near post by Jon McLaughlin. Niall Keown saw a header miss by a few yards before Adam Barton had a clear-cut chance in the 43rd minute.

With two minutes left until the break, Miles Storey saw his cross deflect into the box. That deflection allowed Adam Barton to get to the delivery. He touched it over the ‘keeper but the ball was cleared off the line by a covering Hearts defender. The ball then fell to Blair Spittal in the box but the number seven miscued his volley allowing the Jambos to clear the ball.

Things went into the break at 1-0. Thistle had been on top for much of the opening 45, creating much more than their Edinburgh-based adversaries. Most of the play had come through Blair Spittal and Miles Storey who was adapting well to a front two. However, when you don’t score more while you’re on top there is always a chance that you’ll be made to rue those missed opportunities.

The second period started slowly with both teams struggling to pass their way into the opposition box and the first real action of the half was an injury that forced Christie Elliott off the pitch. He clashed with John Souttar in the air but landed awkwardly on his way down and was forced off the pitch, being replaced by Milan Nitriansky.

Hearts began to turn up the pressure around the 70-minute mark when a long-range Connor Randall shot had to be tipped over the bar by Ryan Scully. The distanced effort gave the away side the confidence boost they were looking for heading into the latter stages of the game.

As the match reached the last 15 minutes, Stuart Bannigan replaced Kris Doolan to inject some life into the Thistle midfield.

Unfortunately for Alan Archibald, despite his change, Hearts found their equaliser. The Jags were caught out by a quick corner and Manuel Milinkovic found Ross Callachan with a cross to the near post. Callachan then lifted his header over Ryan Scully towards the far post. Daniel Devine was there and headed the ball away however, the match officials judged that the ball had crossed the line and gave the goal.

After the Hearts leveller, the Jags almost retook the lead just five minutes later. Paul McGinn’s low cross found Miles Storey. The ex-Inverness striker turned the ball goalward, finding the target. His effort was blocked by the goalkeeper, Jon McLaughlin. The ball then came to Stuart Bannigan but his attempt was blocked.

The Jags made one last roll of the dice when Miles Storey was withdrawn and Kevin Nisbet was introduced up-front. However, there was nothing doing and the game finished 1-1. The Jags picked up their third point of the season but it will undoubtedly feel like they should have had three this afternoon. There was some good play on the Thistle side but ultimately, they were made to regret not putting the game to bed as they conceded another costly goal in the last 15 minutes of the game.

Thistle now look towards next Saturday’s clash with Motherwell at Fir Park. The Maryhill men travel to take on the ‘Well as they continue to look for their first league win of the season. Kick-off is at 15:00.

Article Copyright © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.

 

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Hearts – 23rd September 2017

After a slow start to the Ladbrokes Premiership season, Partick Thistle have finally found an upturn in form. Following four straight league losses, the Maryhill men had gone two games without defeat in the Premiership going into today’s game and although they remained winless, draws against Ross County and Rangers meant things were looking up for the Jags. On the back of those draws, Thistle came very close to a first league victory of the new campaign as Hearts came to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. An 18th minute goal from Blair Spittal the lead and they would hold that advantage until the 79th minute when Ross Callachan’s header brought the visitors level. The game ended all square and the Jags went another match without victory but extended their unbeaten league run to three games. Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk after the match to give his thoughts on the clash.

The Hearts equaliser was a rather controversial one. Ross Callachan’s header looped over Ryan Scully but was headed by Daniel Devine on the line. It seemed, at first glance, that he had cleared it but the referee conferred with his assistant and decided that it was a goal. Although it was a tight call, Archie was more disappointed that his side allowed Hearts to get to that position than the decision itself.

“I’ve seen it back quickly and it’s hard to tell whether the ball crossed the line. To be honest, I’m more upset with our defending leading up to it. We had defended well under pressure for about 15 minutes before and it felt like we were coming back into it a bit. From our point of view, it’s more than preventable, as well. It’s our kick-out then they catch us out with a quick corner so we should have done better.”

The gaffer also said that when tight calls go against you, it’s even more difficult to take when you’re so desperate for a first league win of the season.

“When you’re in a tough run of from, it always feels like these tight calls go against you but that’s just football. All in all, it was a positive performance today. At times, we really came into our game and created some good openings. I thought Blair Spittal was outstanding, too, and deserved his goal.”

Although Thistle dominated much of the first half and probably created more than Hearts, Alan thinks that a point was fair for both sides when you look at the entire game.

“We created a couple more chances than them, I thought, but on the balance of play, a draw was fair in the end. When you create a few good chances and only get one goal, it always feels like you could have got more but I can’t fault the team’s effort and application today.”

Archibald also gave us an update on Christie Elliott’s condition. The number 14 was forced off the park with an injury in the second half following an aerial duel with John Souttar.

“He went away for a precautionary x-ray after he went off and we’re hoping there isn’t a major problem. It was his ankle and there was some swelling but we hope it will just be a minor issue for the physio to see to.”

Archie and the Thistle squad now turn their attentions to next Saturday. The Jags travel to Fir Park to take on Motherwell as they continue searching for the illusive first league win of the season. Kick-off is 15:00 from Fir Park.

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Daniel Devine and Miles Storey. Log in now to see it as soon as it is available.

Jagzone subscribers can rewatch the full 90 minutes soon.

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 © 2017. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.

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