SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 21 November, 2015. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow.
It’s been a long two weeks since a late goal denied Thistle all three points at Dens Park in the last Ladbrokes Premiership fixture. Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk to preview tomorrow’s fixture with Inverness.
“We’ve been in a good spirit over the international break having gotten over the disappointment of dropping two points late on against Dundee. We’re only six points off Inverness so we know we are going into a vital spell and we need to start picking up points. We’ve been on a good run, but we need to turn the results into wins.
“Inverness are a good side, but they are a side we have done well against since we got promoted to the Premiership in 2013. They are a good passing team and try to play football the right way, which makes for entertaining games and we’ll be hoping to extend our good record against them tomorrow.”
Students go free in tomorrow’s game, and Alan is hoping for a larger than normal Thistle crowd to spur the side onto victory.
“The club are working hard to promote the students go free offer, which hopefully will see a larger crowd than normal, and we’ll be working hard to make sure that they go home having seen Thistle win and get them hooked, wanting to come back again in the future.”
Archibald also took a moment to reflect on the historic news that Partick Thistle Football Club is now debt free.
“It is absolutely fantastic news for the football club and allows us to begin planning everything on a more stable long term basis. Players want to come to stable and financially secure clubs and I have no doubt that this news will help us when we are trying to attract people to the club.
“People shouldn’t be expecting us to sign six players in January though and we will be operating on very much the same model as we have done in the past.”
Alan concluded with his team news for tomorrow’s game.
“Tomas Cerny is still out as it stands. Robbie Muirhead and Gary Miller come back into the squad having called off late on against Dundee. Christie Elliott is still a while away from first team football too. Stuart Bannigan is suspended having picked up six yellow cards in the Premiership this season.”
Thistle hosted Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Firhill looking to build on the point won a fortnight ago at Dens Park. Thistle have enjoyed a good record against the highland outfit since winning promotion to the Premiership in 2013 and Alan Archibald was keen for the good streak against them to continue.
The manager made two changes to the side which had earned the point at Dens with Ryan Scully returning to the goalkeeping position having served his one match ban. Missing out due to a ban was Stuart Bannigan and his place in the midfield went to Gary Fraser.
Thistle started sluggishly, with Inverness keen to test Ryan Scully early on firing in shots from distance in the opening stages of the game. It took only six minutes for the away side to take the lead when some confident passing from the team resulted in Storey being played through by Williams, sending a low drive past Scully to the corner of the net.
Thistle were in danger of losing any sense of control in the game as Inverness pressed hard, but Doolan was working hard to try and gain some territory in the Inverness half, winning a free kick 30 yards from goal, after showing a great first touch. From the freekick, Fraser floated the ball to the back post, with Seaborne able to knock it back into the box, but Inverness were able to clear easily.
Callum Booth was marauding down the left hand touchline and showed excellent pace to get clear of Horney, before lifting a cross which Doolan saw his downward header tipped over the bar by Fon Williams. From the resulting corner, Doolan had a shot on the turn which went agonisingly wide of the post as Thistle cranked up the pressure on the away side.
Lawless was next to try his luck, after a mazy run allowed him space on the edge of the box to fire a fizzing drive just wide of the post.
Thistle were having the better of the game, but Inverness were proving to be a threat on the break with Williams getting on the end of a Polworth cross but unable to find the back of the net with Scully beaten.
Just before half time, Thistle were level and it was that man Doolan who notched the equaliser, after a first half where he had a personal dual with Fon Williams. Having been blocked from close range previously, Doolan manufactured himself some space inside the box, before finishing a low left footed drive into the far post.
Thistle came out strongly at the start of the second half buoyed by the equalising goal and Fraser did well to burst into the box to meet a Dumbuya cross, but his header was straight at the goalkeeper.
The pace of David Amoo was causing Inverness all sorts of problems and he shot wide having been played clean through inside the penalty area.
Scully had to be alert to beat Williams to a through ball but had little to do in the second half as Thistle continued to press forward in search of a winner. Steven Lawless was denied by a good save from Fon Williams, with Muirhead unable to bundle home the rebound, while Gary Fraser tried a couple of optimistic long range efforts which floated past the post.
Booth and Pogba both had efforts blocked by defenders before Thistle grabbed a last gasp winner.
Dumbuya and Stevenson combined after a throw in and, with no options for delivering a cross seemingly obvious, he swung a left foot to send it into the box. Mathias Pogba made a movement towards the ball, but it bounced away from the striker and into the back of the net.
With three minutes of additional time to navigate, there was still an air of nerviness around Firhill but the home fans inside the ground were soon celebrating three points, which, combined with other results, saw Thistle climb a place to 10th in the Ladbrokes Premiership table.
Alan Archibald’s Partick Thistle recorded a massive win against Inverness that saw the Maryhill side lift themselves out of the bottom two into 10th position. Given the result, the Jags gaffer was understandably buoyant when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk after the full time whistle.
“We’re really pleased with that result. It was great to be on thegood side of a late goal rather than going home disappointed like we were after the Dundee result a couple of weeks ago. Itwas a massive win for us and the magnitude of it was even greater given the other results around us. We just need to take that and build on it in the coming weeks.”
It was late substitute, Ryan Stevenson, who scored the winner with a cross that evaded everyone and nestled in at the back post. Although Ryan will no doubt take the headlines Archie was pleased with the contribution made by all of his substitutes.
“I was pleased because all of the subs made a contribution. Robbie, Mathias and obviously Ryan too all came on and gave us something different so I was impressed with the impact they made. That’s maybe something we have been missing but it is one of the benefits of having such a strong bench.”
It was an open game with good chances for both sides and, after a poor opening 10 minutes Thistle were probably good value for their win.
“Inverness are a good side and I really like the way they play. They put us under a lot of pressure in the early stages of the first half and obviously got their goal too. We had a bad start but I think we came back into it well.
“I didn’t think we played brilliantly today but probably created more chances than we have done in most games this season which was really encouraging. I think we had the better of the chances and for that reason deserved to win but it was very close game and a good one to win.”