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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Thu 26 December, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow.

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
3
Aaron Taylor-Sinclair
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
James Craigen
8
Stuart Bannigan
9
Kris Doolan
11
Steven Lawless
13
Gabriel Piccolo
14
Christie Elliott
16
Jordan McMillan
23
Kallum Higginbotham
 
Subs
12
Paul Gallacher
2
Stephen O'Donnell
5
Aaron Muirhead
10
Ross Forbes
17
John Baird
20
Mark Kerr
31
David Wilson
Inverness CT
12
Dean Brill
3
Graeme Shinnie
5
Gary Warren
6
Josh Meekings
7
Billy McKay
8
Ross Draper
10
Aaron Doran
11
Nick Ross
15
Marley Watkins
18
Carl Tremarco
19
Danny Williams
 
Subs
1
Ryan Esson
2
David Raven
14
Danny Devine
17
Ben Greenhalgh
20
Liam Polworth
21
Conor Pepper
23
Torbjørn Agdestein
 
Subs
12
Paul Gallacher
2
Stephen O'Donnell
5
Aaron Muirhead
10
Ross Forbes
17
John Baird
20
Mark Kerr
31
David Wilson
 
Subs
1
Ryan Esson
2
David Raven
14
Danny Devine
17
Ben Greenhalgh
20
Liam Polworth
21
Conor Pepper
23
Torbjørn Agdestein
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Inverness CT – 26th December 2013

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Match Report

Partick Thistle v Inverness CT – 26th December 2013

A series of missed chances and good goalkeeping denied Thistle what would have been a richly deserved Boxing Day win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle; The Jags having to settle for a point at the end of a 0-0 draw that was anything but dull.
Thistle may have lost at Kilmarnock five days earlier but the performance was such that manager Alan Archibald kept faith with the players that featured at Rugby Park selecting the same team right down to the choice of seven substitutes.
The opening exchanges in the game were pretty scrappy with the only effort worthy of any kind of note in the first ten minutes a Kallum Higginbotham free kick from the left corner of the Inverness box that went over the bar.
Gradually though Thistle began to get on top against the side that were sitting second in the league at kick-off time and they were unfortunate not to take the lead in the 13th minute. Higginbotham found himself in behind the Inverness defence and his effort from an angle was saved by the legs of Brill with the rebound bouncing off Higginbotham and out for a goal kick.
Thistle defended well throughout the 90 minutes with the exception of one moment midway through the first half when they came close to gifting Inverness an undeserved lead. Conrad Balatoni’s ill-judged pass back was seized upon by Billy McKay, by some distance the division’s leading scorer, but on this occasion he wasn’t able to find the net with Scott Fox able to divert the ball behind for a corner.
That opportunity though was very much an isolated one for the visitors as Thistle continued to look the better side. They were close again to taking the lead in the 23rd minute. James Craigen lifted a cross into the six yard box that Kris Doolan had to stretch every muscle to reach with his head. Having stretched though to reach Craigen’s cross he was unable to get any direction on his header with the result that the ball flew over an empty net and over the crossbar. It was hard luck on the Thistle striker who had done well to reach the ball in the first place.
Despite those chances the score remained blank at the interval.
Thistle continued where they had left off before the break at the start of the second half as they put Inverness under increasing pressure. Stephen O’Donnell had been introduced for Jordan McMillan at half-time and it was O’Donnell that provided the cross that nearly gave Thistle the lead ten minutes after the restart. Steven Lawless was able to dive to reach O’Donnell’s ball in from the right flank but his header went wide of Brill’s left hand post.
Four minutes later the majority of the Thistle fans inside Firhill were on their feet ready to acclaim a goal but Kallum Higginbotham’s effort cleared the Inverness bar.
Still the chances continued to come Thistle’s way. After 67 minutes Kris Doolan did well to lay the ball back into the path of James Craigen but the midfielder was unable to direct his effort from the edge of the box on target.
Christie Elliott was, however, able to get his shot on target in the 75th minute but Brill was down sharply to save his effort with a defender quickly on hand to clear the loose ball from danger.
Thistle continued to press and Ross Forbes, who replaced Higginbotham in the 67th minute, could only watch in frustration as Brill dived full length to his left to keep out his long range effort with just eleven minutes of the game remaining.
Thistle’s last chance to snatch the win that their efforts merited came with the game deep in injury time. A free kick was won just left of centre about 25 yards from goal. Both Christie Elliott and Ross Forbes stood over the ball with the latter taking the free kick but he saw his effort headed clear by an Inverness defender as Thistle had to settle for just a single point from a game that they had dominated the majority of.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Inverness CT – 26th December 2013

The Boxing Day fixture with Inverness didn’t produce the hoped for three points despite another good performance. [link:HOME] asked manager Alan Archibald after the game if he and his players were disappointed not to have collected maximum points from a game that they had dominated?
“We certainly are. We played some very good stuff against a side up at the top end of the league. We created a lot of great chances but we just didn’t take them.”
Alan continued;
“It is very frustrating. We are doing the right things and we are playing well and I think we would have deserved the win today on the basis of the we played and the chances that we created but things are just not falling for us. We just need something like a sclaff or mishit to go in. We’re almost striking the ball too well at times.  We’re just going through this streak at the moment and hopefully we will come out of it soon. ”
The clean sheet, the first from August, was a major plus to take from the game. Said Alan;
“I thought that we defended well against a good Inverness team that score against most teams. They are a threat at set plays as well and the main positive to take from the game was the fact that we got our first clean sheet of the season since the first game of the season. That’s the main positive but it is still disappointing that we didn’t get our first win at home.”
There was praise for the sponsor’s Man of the Match Gabriel Piccolo and his defensive team mates.
“He did really well again today. Obviously it is hard for him with the language. He does speak English but he obviously needs to get used to the football banter and jargon that we speak. He’s getting better with every game but I was delighted with the whole back four today and the fact that they kept a clean sheet; I felt that they deserved to do that.”
Just past the hour mark Ross Forbes came on to replace Kallum Higginbotham and the manager explained his thinking behind that decision.
“We just tried to change things and try something a little different. We put Ross Forbes on in that area because I think Kallum was coming inside and the lad Shinnie is naturally left footed and stronger on that side. It just wasn’t happening for Kallum. He was good otherwise but in front of goal it just wasn’t dropping for him.”
Alan went on;
“I thought that Ross did well when he came on and I thought that all the subs did well. Stephen O’Donnell hasn’t played a lot of football recently but he came on at half-time and tried to help us win the game and all the subs I felt made a positive impact on the game.”
The football comes at a fair old rate at this time of the year and we are in action again in just a few day’s time and Alan is already focusing on the visit of Motherwell to Firhill on Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve another home game coming up which is a bonus. I thought the fans were brilliant today and we certainly heard them; they were very noisy. We will be up against another very good team on Sunday who are on a good run at the moment. They’ve managed to turn things round after their defeat in the cup. We keep saying to the players that they should be positive, positive, positive and they are playing well. We’re just not getting the rub of the green at the moment but hopefully that will change when we face Motherwell.”
The major question that Thistle fans are asking at the moment is whether any new faces will be coming in during the January transfer window?
“I certainly hope so but we don’t want to get too excited because as we found out in the summer you are expecting things to happen and then on the day that it is supposed to happen it doesn’t. We have a few irons in the fire so to speak and hopefully one will come through as quickly as possible.”

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