SPFL Ladbrokes Championship
Sat 23 February, 2019. Kick Off: - 15:00
The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill
This fixture is a GENERAL ADMISSION fixture
HOME ticket prices:
Spectators looking to use the Jackie Husband stand will require to purchase a ticket from the portable ticket office next to the Jackie Husband reception.
Cash gates in operation for the John Lambie and Colin Weir Stands.
Adults – £20
Concessions – £15
Under 16s – FREE
A concession is qualified as a person between 17 and 18, over 65* or a student with a valid matriculation card.
AWAY ticket prices:
Adults – £20
Concessions – £15
Under 16s – £5
*Please note that bus passes are not a valid proof of ID for 65+ concession. Valid forms of ID for 65+ concession are: standard UK Driver’s license, passport, Birth certificate, VALIDATE UK proof of age card, NUS card, National ID card.
Saturday sees league leaders, Ross County, make the long trip down from the Highlands to The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill to take on a Thistle side that sit top of the form table with three straight league wins. Combine league form with a cup run that has secured the Jags a place in the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter final and confidence is very high for the home side.
After he finished the final part of his match preparation, Thistle boss, Gary Caldwell, took time to speak to ptfc.co.uk about the tie but started by reflecting on his side’s recent run of good form.
Caldwell said: “I think you can see the impact these results have had, not just on the first team but through the reserves and away from the players as well. It completely changes the feel about the place and I see that when I speak to the office staff, the supporters, anyone associated with the Club really. There’s more positivity and genuine belief which I think you need if you are going to be successful.
“It’s important that we don’t relax or ease up in any way though, we are where we are as a result of hard work and focus and that is exactly what it will take to keep this run going. Nothing has been achieved yet and we need to be aware of that. We’ve pulled ourselves clear of the bottom two places but it remains incredibly tight from fourth to tenth so if we don’t keep our standards high then someone will take advantage.”
It’s back to back clean sheets for Thistle and while Caldwell is happy that his side have stopped conceding as many goals he still wants more from his players.
“We’re obviously very pleased with any clean sheet and rightly so. That being said though, we still think it is something we can improve on. I thought we gave too many chances away on Saturday and if it hadn’t been for a couple of bits of last ditch defending we might well have conceded. We need to keep working on the small things to close those fine margins and make sure we keep this run going.”
The likes of Steven Anderson and Steven Saunders may have grabbed some of the headlines in recent weeks but the Jags boss was quick to emphasise that it really is a full team effort.
“The experience we brought in at the back has helped to improve the standards overall but we have had a better mind-set across the team to be honest. To just say it is down to those individuals I think would be unfair on the rest of the team. We defend from the front and the work rate from the attacking players has been phenomenal.
“Our approach is very clear, when we have the ball we are all attackers and when we don’t have the ball we are all defenders. It’s something we have been trying to drill in from when we first arrived. I think you can see an intensity in the press from the attacking players now that helps us to win the ball higher up the pitch to alleviate the pressure on the defenders. Likewise, the more defensive players want to get the ball forward quickly to get us back on the front foot when we do win it back.
Finally the gaffer turned his eyes to Saturday’s opponents, Ross County.
“Today will be a tough test against the league leaders but we need to take confidence from our current form. We’ve had some tough matches recently but we’ve come through them all unbeaten. County will bring a threat, they are a strong team and are up at the top of the table for a reason, but if we go into it with the same attitude that we’ve had for the other games since the turn of the year then we are more than capable of getting a result.
“It will be tough but every game is tough in this league. We need to earn the right to go and play football but we are ready and prepared to do just that on Saturday.”
More exclusive preview interviews with Gary Harkins, Jack McMillan and Jags manager, Gary Caldwell, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.
Jagzone members will also be able to watch extended highlights of the game.
Can’t make it to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday.
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Article Copyright © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk.
After establishing a deserved 2-0 lead at half-time, Thistle have a disasterous second half shipping 4 goals as County come from behind the claim the win.
McDonald snatches at the ball and drags a shot well wide.
McDonald plays a cross into the County 6 yard box but there is no Thistle player to get on the end of it.
Thistle are opened up and Hazard is forced into making a good stop to deny Spence from finding a 5th goal for County.
Thistle are looking like a tired and beaten side. Fitzpatrick takes a knock and is limping but all three subs have been used.
A rare effort on goal from Thistle in the second half but Fitzpatrick's effort goes wide.
McKay sends Hazard the wrong way from the spot as County extend their lead.
It's all going wrong for Thistle. McMillan is adjudged to have tripped Stewart and County have a penalty.
The referee spots a foul as Thistle attempt to attack the ball aftrer Slater's corner is partially cleared.
County clear Slater's corner.
Stewart escapes from his marker to meet Mullin's inswinging corner and heads County into the lead.
An Elliott shot is blocked by a defender.
Bannigan, who took a knock a few minutes earlier, is receiving some treatment on the pitch.
Thistle try and work a free kick from the training ground but it is far too easy for County to defend.
Elliott is caught late as he atempts to cross into the County box and Thistle have a free kick in a threatening position.
Mckay scoops a shot over the bar from the edge of the Thistle box. 2-0 up at half-time Thistle are now hanging on at 2-2.
Mullin's free kick is poor and it is an easy catch for Hazard.
Fraser flings himself to the ground and wins County a free kick.
Any reprieve for Thistle is short lived as Lindsay thumps the ball past Hazard to well and truly turn this game on its head.
Anderson makes a great block just as Stewart looks set to find the net.
Slater's corner goes to the front post. County clear and then win a free kick for an ingfringement inside the box.
Penrice gets past Fraser and forces Fox into a save at his near post.
Thistle are under real pressure as Stewart heads wide.
Spittal collects a Bannigan pass but wastes his chance to pressure the County goal with a poor cross.
County are a whisker away from an equaliser as Van Der Weg's header goes just wide of Hazard's left hand post.
Hazard punches when he perhaps could have caught the ball and Thistle are under pressure.
Precisely the start to the second half that Thistle didn't want to make as Stewart knocks a sliced clearance into the back of the Thistle net.
Two goals in the sapce of three minutes, the first from Aidan Fitzpatrick the second Christie Elliott, sees Thistle go in at half-time 2-0 up after an excelllent display thus far.
Penrice whips over a cross that Fitzpatrick can't get on the end of.
Spence makes a good challenge to halt the progress of Penrice on the left.
Stewart gets away from his marker at the corner but he can't keep his header down and the ball goes over the bar.
Stewart's shot is blocked by Elliott.
Slater takes the free kick but it is a tame effort and strikes the wall.
Doolan is pulled back as he attempts to gather Hazard's clearance. Thistle free kick about 6 yards outside the box and left of centre.
A Penrice cross is cleared straight into the path of Spittal who rushes his shot and fires over the bar when he should have hit target at the very least.
It's another bandage for Boyle. This time on his left thigh.
Boyle is in the wars again and play is stopped once more as he receives treatment.
Thistle look in the mood at the moment. Firmly in charge and looking for a third.
Slater curls his corner to the back post where Anderson heads the ball back into the danger area. Elliott is the player to gather the ball and eventually he forces the ball over the line despite some desparate attempts to clear. Elliott is immediately swamped by his team mates.
Fitzpatrick's pass nearly finds Spittal who had made a good forward run.
He's not off target this time. Harkins spots Spittal to his left. His cross is flicked goalwards and Fox makes a good instinctive save but Fitzpatrick is there to knock the ball home from close range.
Slater does well down the left for Thistle. His cross is too high for Doolan but the ball falls for Fitzpatrick who slices his shot well wide of target.
Mullin collects a yellow card for diving.
A delightful forward pass from Spittal is a yard too far ahead of Doolan and that allows Fox to gather.
The flag goes up for offside against Doolan as he gathers a Fitzpatrick flick.
Penrice dives into a challenge on Mullin who skips past the Thistle defender. Anderson nearly diverts Mullin's cross into his own net but Hazard is able to grab the ball right on his goal line.
Boyle is back on his feet with his head bandaged. We're back under way.
There is a break in play for County's Boyle to receive some treatment.
Fitzpatrick's pace has the County defence on the back foot. He over hits his pass to Spittal to his left though. Spittal is forced to go wide and his cross goes over the bar.
Spence flashes a shot across the face of the Thistle goal.
McMillan's pass catches Doolan in an offside position.
Thistle have an early chance to take the lead. Fitzpatrick gatyhers an Elliott pass wide on the right. His cross falls to Spittal who fires over the bar from 10 yards out.
Thistle put their unbeaten start to 2019 on the line this afternoon against league leaders Ross County who have won both previous meetings between the teams this season.
Thistle approach this game though in confident mood and Gary Caldwell selects the same eleven tio start today who started against Alloa seven days ago.
The only change comes on the bench where there is a place for fit again Steven Saunders.
Partick Thistle’s excellent start to 2019 came to a shuddering halt this afternoon as Ross County came from two goals down to beat the Jags 4-2 in an action-packed fixture in Maryhill.
The hosts took the lead after 21 minutes thanks to Aidan Fitzpatrick before Christie Elliott grabbed a rare goal to extend the advantage. However, a quick start to the second half got the visiting Staggies rolling and four goals without answer from Thistle saw the Dingwall side leave with all three points. Jags boss, Gary Caldwell, spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the conclusion of the match.
“We played absolutely brilliantly for 45 minutes; we were totally in control and could have been up by more against the best team in this league but then I think complacency is the word I would use.
“I told the players that as soon as you think you’ve cracked it in football, you pay a heavy price because you have to keep working, keep tackling, keep running to win any games.
“We’d also spoke about the first ten minutes of the second half and how it would dictate the game. We knew that if they got a goal, they’d get a second wind and that’s exactly what happened. They grew into the game while we fell away.”
Caldwell expanded on his point about complacency, describing how difficult it is to stop something like that, once it sets in.
“It’s very difficult to get rid of something like that once it arrives. If those players go out on the pitch with that mentality then it’s really impossible to turn it around. I tried to change the shape and the personnel but as soon as that first goal went in, everything changed.
“I didn’t see a reaction when they scored. I didn’t see enough positive body language. That’s because as a group of players, going out for the second half, they thought they’d done enough to win the game so hopefully they’ve now learned that they can never assume they’ve done enough to win before the game is over.”
The gaffer also noted that his side should have been more clinical with multiple chances to enhance the deficit wasted before the interval.
“When you have the chance to kill off a team like Ross County while you’re on top, you have to take it but we didn’t have that ruthlessness in the first half which could have really knocked the stuffing out of them.”
Although hugely disappointed with the day’s result, Gary knows there’s no time to dwell with another big match coming up on Tuesday night against Dunfermline at East End Park.
“We have to learn from the game and do it quickly. There’s a lot to be positive about at the moment looking at the last six or seven weeks and we can’t lose sight of that off the back of this game. We’ll go to Dunfermline in midweek fully focused on returning to winning ways.”
Finally, Gary updated us on the wellbeing of Stuart Bannigan who came off with an injury in the second half.
“I’m not sure exactly what the problem is at the moment. I think he was struggling with his hamstring but we don’t know how serious it is just yet.”
A more in depth video interview with Gary Caldwell is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Christie Elliott – log in now to see them.
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 © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to ptfc.co.uk