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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 8 April, 2017. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Matchday Information:

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Under 16s FREE

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Find out what is inside Saturday’s issue

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Tomas Cerny
2
Mustapha Dumbuya
5
Liam Lindsay
9
Kris Doolan
10
Chris Erskine (Ade Azeez 67)
11
Steven Lawless (Andrew McCarthy 80)
13
Adam Barton
14
Christie Elliott
15
Daniel Devine
17
Niall Keown
19
Ryan Edwards
 
Subs
35
Mark Ridgers
3
Callum Booth
7
David Amoo
16
Ade Azeez
26
Neil McLaughlin
27
Kevin Nisbet
30
Andrew McCarthy
Motherwell
1
Craig Samson
4
Ben Heneghan
8
Carl McHugh
11
Ryan Bowman
12
Chris Cadden
17
Elliott Frear (Lionel Ainsworth 45)
20
Craig Clay (Keith Lasley 45)
21
Zak Jules
36
Shea Gordon (Jacob Blyth 71)
77
Scott McDonald
88
Stephen Pearson
 
Subs
13
Russell Griffiths
3
Steven Hammell
7
Lionel Ainsworth
14
Keith Lasley
19
Jacob Blyth
26
Allan Campbell
30
Jack McMillan
 
Subs
35
Mark Ridgers
3
Callum Booth
7
David Amoo
16
Ade Azeez
26
Neil McLaughlin
27
Kevin Nisbet
30
Andrew McCarthy
 
Subs
13
Russell Griffiths
3
Steven Hammell
7
Lionel Ainsworth
14
Keith Lasley
19
Jacob Blyth
26
Allan Campbell
30
Jack McMillan
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Motherwell – 8th April 2017

After a spirited win against Ross County last weekend, Partick Thistle became just the third team to take points from Celtic with an impressive 1-1 draw away to the Scottish champions. That result, combined with Kilmarnock’s failure to take all three points from Rangers, meant that a top six finish could be secured by Saturday evening. Indeed Killie must win at Celtic Park to keep any reasonable hopes of reaching sixth as the Ayrshire side’s inferior goal difference makes a draw near to useless.

Top six qualification is firmly in the Jags’ own hands though as a Thistle win at home to Motherwell would guarantee a top half finish regardless of results elsewhere. Jags boss, Alan Archibald, spoke to ptfc.co.uk ahead of what could be a historic weekend for his side.

Archie was still brimming with pride after his team’s excellent second half showing at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

“Everyone was obviously delighted to take a point from what must be considered the single toughest fixture of the season. It didn’t feel like we would have been able to take anything if we had continued where we left off in the first half. We were up against it, Celtic were rampant and, to be honest, we couldn’t get near them. Thankfully, we were much better in the second half, we improved our ball retention and that got us a bit more of a foothold in the game. We also created a few chances which was important.”

Previously this season Thistle went to Celtic Park and put in a good showing but came away with nothing, so the gaffer was happy to be able to take points from the game, fine reward for the good second half performance.

“Everybody looks at going to Parkhead and sees anything they get as a bonus but you also want to avoid a heavy defeat because that will affect confidence going forward. The draw keeps our unbeaten run going as well, that’s up to seven games now, and there were other plus points too.

“We had a young squad there, if you take Tomas Cerny out then I think the average age of the squad is around 23 and we had young Andrew McCarthy getting his chance from the start as well. Overall, there were a lot of positives to take and confidence is high heading into the weekend’s game which will be a tough one.”

Looking towards Saturday’s match, Archibald is focused on getting a win against Motherwell which would put things to bed, irrespective of Killie’s result.

“Unlike last year, it’s in our own hands. If we don’t make it then we would only have ourselves to blame. We know exactly what we need to do and all the players are motivated by the fact that we can lay any doubts to rest against Motherwell.”

Despite a poor start to the season, Archie has been thrilled with the way his side have performed since the winter break and believes that based on that form, they deserve to be in the top six.

“Both us and Killie have put a good run together and whoever does make sixth in the end will deserve it. Whichever side misses out will feel hard done by. We’ve done well since Christmas and massive credit goes to the players. Last time we went to Parkhead, we were at the foot of the table but we managed to string some good results together and I’ve been more than happy with that.”

Alan Archibald’s side now sit closer to fifth place Hearts than Kilmarnock and although confirming top six is still the focus for now, the Thistle boss realises that Hearts’ lead isn’t an unassailable one.

“I think that it’s about focusing on one goal at a time. Every time we hit a target, we have a chance to reassess and reset our targets. First and foremost, we want to reach that top six and then we’ll have a look at things after that and, you never know.”

The Jags’ manager then expanded on his comments regarding his team’s turnaround, citing his belief in his side’s qualities.

“Of course there was worry and concern but the important factor for us, when we were on a poor run, was that we were still creating chances although we couldn’t quite score at the right times. I’ve been asked what the difference is on several occasions and for me it’s that we are getting those goals at vital points and we’ve been keeping clean sheets more regularly. For the most part, we’ve been conceding fewer goals in the last five minutes of games too which has helped us add consistency to our game and put a run together as a team.”

Archie also knows how much a top six finish will mean to the club, especially when looking back at where the club has come from in the past five years.

“It would be great. I’ll talk a bit more about what an achievement it is when we’ve actually confirmed it because as I’m sure all the Thistle fans know; we hardly ever do things the easy way so I’ll wait until we get there and if we do get there on Saturday then we can really enjoy it.”

The Thistle boss was also keen to highlight the impressive league debut of 18-year old Andrew McCarthy who put in a splendid performance on a huge day for the young midfielder.

“I was very pleased with Andy. He played 60 minutes on Monday with the development side and I don’t think he knew he was playing at the time of that game but we went over the shape on Tuesday morning and he was a bit shocked to be getting a start. The plan was for him to mark Scott Brown to the best of his ability but he ended up playing against Nir Bitton so I was impressed with his ability to adapt. He grew into the game and I think that seeing him play is great for the club. It shows the boys that are currently in the youth system that they will be given a chance if they work hard and keep at it.”

Thistle’s next game is that all-important clash with Motherwell tomorrow and kick-off is at 15:00.

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is now available to Jagzone subscribers. Log in now to see it. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight.

Can’t make 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

93’Full Time Report

It's a hard fought battle in the second half but Thistle withstand plenty of Motherwell pressure to hang on to record a 1-0 win. 

It's a 1-0 win that secures place in the top six post split. 

 
93’Full Time
 
90’+02’

Great chasing from Edwards earns Thistle a throw near the Motherwell corner flag. 

 
90’

Blyth pushes Keown and Thistle have a free kick inside their own penalty area. 

 
90’

Minimum of 3 minutes additional time. 

 
88’

There is a big scramble inside the box following Ainsworth's corner before the referee spots an Motherwell infringement and awards Thistle a free kick. 

88’Motherwell corner from the right
 
86’

It's a bit heated here and McDonald looks to catch McCarthy with a stray elbow. 

86’Motherwell corner from the right
 
83’

Blyth flings himself to the ground inside the Thistle box but escapes a yellow card for his antics. Edwards in particular is furious at Blyth's attempt to earn his side a penalty. 

 
81’

It's fairly tense here at Firhill but with Kilmarnock trailing 3-1 in their fixture Thistle's top six slot looks secure at the moment. 

80’Thistle substitution: Andrew McCarthy replaces Steven Lawless
 
79’

The corner curls in and goes out of play on the far side without a touch despite the protests from McDonald. 

78’Motherwell corner from the right
 
77’

The Thistle fans are getting right behind their team as they edge nearer that top six spot. 

 
72’

Thistle initially defend the corner well but Dumbuya gets caught in possession at the edge of the box inviting more Motherwell pressure. That pressure only eases when Lasley fires, narrowly, over the bar from the edge of the box. 

71’Motherwell corner from the left
71’Motherwell substitution: Jacob Blyth replaces Shea Gordon
 
70’

Lawless finds a spot of space a couple of yards outside the Motherwell box but frags his shot wide. 

 
69’

Cerny makes a quite magnificent save low at his right hand post to keep out a header from Bowman. 

67’Thistle substitution: Ade Azeez replaces Chris Erskine
 
64’

Erskine switches the ball out to Dumbuya on the right but Dumbuya's cross is safely gathered by Samson. 

 
61’

McDonald stretches to try and reach a cross from the left but can't make contact. It's more Motherwell pressure though. 

 
60’

Ainsworth puts another good ball into the thistle box but the referee spots a push as the ball comes in and Thistle have a free kick. 

 
59’

Edwards heads the corner clear but it is Motherwell that are doing the bulk of the pressing at the moment. 

58’Motherwell corner from the right
 
53’

Samson clears the ball ahead of Lawless. 

 
52’

Motherwell have started the second half well and Cerny needs to make a brave interception at his right hand post to collect a driven Pearson cross. 

 
50’

Barton does well to head clear an Ainsworth but receives an accidental knock to the head in the process. 

 
50’

First real action of the second half sees Doolan just fail to connect with a cross into the box from Keown. 

45’Motherwell substitution: Lionel Ainsworth replaces Elliott Frear
45’Motherwell substitution: Keith Lasley replaces Craig Clay
 
45’Kick-Off (2nd half)
45’Half Time Report

Thistle have produced an excellent first half display with the only surprise being that they have been unable to add to Kris Doolan's 10th minute goal. 

Doolan was in the right spot and the right time to convert an Erskine cross from no more than a few yards out. 

It was an opening 45 minutes of almost total Thistle domination. Lawless saw a shot deflected onto the Motherwell crossbar and Doolan spurned a great opportunity to net a second goal as thistle had the visitors firmly on the back foot. 

 
45’Half-Time
 
42’

It's a terrible free kick from Frear and the ball goes high over the bar. 

 
41’

Motherwell have a free kick about 25 yards out to the right of centre. 

 
41’

Frear does well to get the ball over from the left but Thistle clear the cross. 

 
37’

Keown takes a knock as Thistle defend the corner. 

36’Motherwell corner from the right
 
34’

Samson claims a Barton cross from the right. 

 
34’

Samson saves an Edwards' shot but the flag was already up for offside. 

 
33’

A Lawless cross is headed clear as Motherwell struggle to keep the score at just 1-0. 

 
32’

Doolan is human after all and spurns a chance to put Thistle 2-0 ahead as he knocks the ball wide when trying to curl it beyond Samson and into the corner of the net. 

 
31’

Barton wins the ball in midfield and pushes the ball to Erskine to his left. Erskine advances into the box but the ball gets stuck under his feet and doesn't manage a shot. 

 
29’

Thistle are so close to a second goal. Lawless' shot deflects off a defender and with Samson beaten hits the crossbar. Doolan is just unable to reach the rebound in time to nod the ball home. 

 
28’

The free kick is well defended but Motherwell remain on the attack. 

 
27’

McDonald earns Motherwell a free kick deep inside the Thistle half. 

 
26’

Erskine delivers the corner into a dangerous area where it slides off the head of Barton and away from goal. 

26’Thistle corner from the left

A Lawless shot spins off a defender and out for a corner. 

 
25’

Barton takes the free kick. He lfts the ball over the bar and just wide of target. 

 
24’

Erskine is fouled just outside the Motherwell box and Thistle have a free kick just left of centre. 

 
20’

Samson comes for and totally misses an Edwards' free kick. He is a little lucky to hear a whistle for a foul on him

 
19’

Thistle are a real,threat every time they come forward. Erskine gets the ball wide to Doolan who spots the overlap from Dumbuya. His cross comes off a Motherwell defender but doesn't go out for a corner. 

 
18’

Erskine plays a ball over the top of the Motherwell defence looking for Doolan but the flag goes up for offside. 

 
17’

Samson punches clear Erskine's free kick. 

 
17’

Thistle free kick on the left touchline in line with the corner of the Motherwell box. 

 
16’

Erskine pressures Jules into knocking the ball out for a throw. 

 
14’

It's a decent free kick too delivered deep into the Thistle box but although it is Motherwell player on the end of it it is an easy catch for Cerny to make when the ball drops towards him. 

 
13’

Motherwell free kick midway inside the Thistle half. 

10’Goal Thistle! Kris Doolan
Thistle 1 - Motherwell 0

Just the start Thistle wanted. Erskine crosses from the left and Doolan is there inside the 6 yard box to tuck the ball home. 

 
09’

Dumbuta takes a tumble while trying to gather an Erskine cross but the, muffled, appeals for a penalty from the north stand are optimistic in the extreme. 

 
06’

Edwards lifts a free kick towards Devine inside the Motherwell box but the referee spots a push and Motherwell have a free kick. 

 
02’

Motherwell make a bit of a mess of the resultant corner kick. 

02’Motherwell corner from the left

Early chance for Motherwell but McDonald can't force home his header at the back post. 

 
01’

There is a good atmosphere inside the ground and it feels like a bigger than normal crowd. 

 
00’Kick-Off
 
00’Introduction

It's a big day for Thistle and Firhill is looking great in the April sunshine. 

Victory for The Jags will see Thistle clinch a top six place ahead of the split and after making five changes for the midweek 1-1 draw with Celtic Alan Archibald makes four changes for this afternoon's meeting with Motherwell. 

Into the starting eleven come Kris Doolan, who wears the captain's armband, Chris Erskine, Mustapha Dumbuya and Steven Lawless. 

Callum Booth, David Amoo, Ade Azeez and Andrew McCarthy are the four that drop to the bench to make way for them. 

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Motherwell – 8th April 2017

With two games to go until the split, Partick Thistle had a great chance to confirm a top six finish at home to Motherwell. Kilmarnock were playing away at Celtic and only a win would keep their top six dreams alive, however, if Thistle could beat the Steelmen, Killie’s result wouldn’t matter and the Jags would be in the guaranteed a top six finish regardless. That is exactly what they did. An early Kris Doolan goal was enough to down the ‘Well in what was a tense encounter late on. So for the first time since the split was introduced, Partick Thistle are a top six side and Jags boss Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk after the game to speak about the great achievement.

Archie stressed the size of his side’s achievement, it being Thistle highest top flight finish for over 30 years.

“It’s up there with winning the old first division in 2013. We had been down there for so long so getting back into the Premiership was huge but this is as important as that. It’s great for the club and everyone associated with Thistle and it means we won’t be scraping for points trying to stay above the bottom sides when the split does kick in.”

The gaffer was pleased that even though Kilmarnock failed to win at Celtic Park, his side did the business and secured their fate themselves.

“We spoke about it before the game. We didn’t want to have to look to other results, waiting for other teams. I think it was a fitting way to do it as well with a clean sheet, a Doolan goal and a great save by Tomas Cerny. I was pleased for Tomas with his save as well because he took the Kilmarnock mistake to heart but he’s the ultimate professional and his save was outstanding.”

Archibald takes great pride in guiding Thistle into the top six as he knows, first hand, that things weren’t always so rosy at Firhill.

“I think when you’ve been through the bad times you appreciate it more. The club has been in a precarious position a few times in the past but it’s great to see that we’re thriving in the top flight. We won’t rest on our laurels but we can enjoy it for now and it’s great for the fans as they’ve been through some tough times.”

The Jags boss also wanted to thank the Thistle boardroom staff who have stuck by him even when results haven’t been going their way.

“The board have been fantastic. If there’s money there then they give us it to spend and they probably helped us turn it around as I think that apart from Celtic and Aberdeen, we were the only team to go away during the winter break and the board budgeted for that at the start of the season and that time away improved us tenfold.”

The Thistle manager also highlighted how important it is to be safely clear of the relegation dogfight.

“It’s awful to be down there for any season but especially this year when the bottom half is so tight. It’s great for the media, watching all the teams desperate for points and desperate to survive so it’s good not be involved in that this year.”

Archie also mentioned how a top six finish allows the club to start preparing for next season much earlier than they would if they were still fighting to ensure safety in the bottom half.

“We’ve already stated looking at pre-season and now we know the minimum amount of money that we have to work with and we can budget for next season as such. Obviously, it’s difficult to look towards the next season when you don’t even know for sure if you’ll be in the league. So thankfully, we won’t be running around trying to find places to be for pre-season as we have security in our league position and can plan ahead safe in the knowledge that we’ll be here in August no matter what.”

The boss was also appreciative of the Jags support, who gave him a standing ovation as the game drew to a close.

“The fans have been brilliant with me. They get frustrated like we all do but that’s the nature of football. They were singing for everyone and the players can feel that and it spurs them on. As I’ve said they’ve been through some tough times but hopefully they can enjoy what the team are doing at the moment.”

Thistle play their last game before the split next Saturday against Rangers at Ibrox. Kick-off is at 15:00.

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Chris Erskine and Steven Lawless. Log in now to see it as soon as it is available.

A full game replay and extended highlights will be added shortly, both 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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