Sat 21 January, 2017. Kick Off: - 15:00
Adults: £10 adults
Concessions (65+ and under 16): £5
Thistle may never have played against Formartine United before but there is one man at Firhill who knows Highland League football only too well having started and finished his playing career at Cove Rangers. So, in a break from the norm, it was Scott Paterson rather than Alan Archibald who spoke to ptfc.co.uk ahead of Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup Fourth Round tie against the Aberdeenshire outfit.
Scott said: “Highland League is where I started way back before I turned professional and I still have some right good memories from that time. It was a really tough league, back then in particular, but even now there are some very strong teams up there.
“I went to see Formartine play Cove a couple of weeks ago and I was impressed by them. They’re a good team with a really good energy about them and a strong looking squad. Our players know exactly what to expect and we have done everything right in terms of our preparation. Everyone knows what is at stake so we all prepare in exactly the same way as we would for any other game – the opposition doesn’t make any difference.”
Thistle may be strong favourites going into Saturday’s match but Scott for one won’t be underestimating the opposition.
“There is a fair amount of money up in that league and the club has been well backed but it’s all about how a side uses that money and the guys have done that very well. They have a lot of good players and a number of ex-pros who were playing at a high level just a couple of years ago. They can play completely without pressure as all the pressure really is on us. We know it’s going to be a tough game but our preparation this week has been excellent so we know we’re going into it in a good place.”
“We had an excellent week away in La Manga with some really high quality sessions and that has just carried on into this week, we’ve trained really well.”
Thistle’s recent cup form has been poor and this is something Scott, together with everyone at the club, is really keen to put to bed.
“I definitely think we’re overdue a cup run as it’s the one thing we’ve really been missing in recent years. It gives you a bit of respite from the league and a good cup run is fantastic for everyone around the club. We’ve got a good opportunity to go through to the next round but we just need to stay focused and make sure we are in the hat when the draw happens on Sunday.”
Thistle fans were buoyed by the news that Mustapha Dumbuya got a good run out for the Jags in Spain, but Paterson remained cautious when the prospect of a return to competitive action came up.
“Muzzy has trained really well over the past couple of weeks and got a good run out in Spain. We’ll be cautious with him though and not look to rush him back. He’s been out for a long time now and we just need to make sure he is looked after properly as he starts to make it back to full fitness. He’ll definitely be in the squad and we’ll just need to see how we go from there.”
Thistle ease their way into the next round with the minimum of fuss on a cold Firhill afternoon.
The damage was done in the opening half when two Chris Erskine goals, either side of a Stevie Lawless strike, saw thistle lead 3-0 at the break.
Despite near total domination in the second 45 minutes Thistle had just a solitary goal to show for that. Abdul Osman converting a Sean Welsh cross.
A professional job from Thistle.
Dumbuya nearly caps his comeback with a goal but his shot from 15 yards goes over the bar.
Azeez is a whisker away from a goal with an angled drive that goes wide of MacDonald's right hand post.
Man of the Match: Sean Welsh.
Slack Thistle play nearly hands Formartine a late consolation goal but Gethins lashes wide when he should hit target at least.
Erskine's pass finds Dumbuya on the right but his near post cross is gathered by the keeper.
Lawson's free kick strieks the wall before Masson fires wide at the edge of the box.
Formartine have a free kick at the left corner of the Thistle box.
Lawless' pass finds Azeez in an offside position.
Doolan can't quite find the space for a shot and instead tries to thread the ball through to Welsh but his pass is just a shade too strong.
It's a rare goal for Osman who fires home from 8 yards out after welsh plays a ball into the box.
Welsh manages to find room for a shot at the edge of the box but his left foot effort is well wide of target.
Thistle open Formartine up down the left but Osman can't steer Lawless' cut back into the net.
Erskine has a chance of a hat-trick but shoots wide when Amoo's cross finds him in space inside the box.
Good chance for Thistle but Doolan sends his header from an Amoo cross wide of goal.
Rousing reception for Dumbuya who comes on for the start of the second half.
It's been a bit of a stroll for Thistle so far against a Formartine side that have offered very liitle in an attacking sense.
Chris Erskine gave Thistle the hoped for early goal before two goals inside 60 seconds, the first from Stevie Lawless and the second from Chris Erskine, had Thistle on easy street.
it's been a professional if not spectacular display from Thistle who have demonstrated an obvious difference in quality between the two teams in the opening 45 minutes.
Amoo's header from Welsh's corner drops just out of the reach of Osman at the back post.
Welsh's low shot doesn't pose MacDonald any problems.
Elliott's shot hits the side netting.
Booth'c cross is met by the head of Amoo but MacDonald is able to push his header away.
Barton's shot from fully 30 yards out doesn't clear the bar with much to spare.
Thistle add a third in double quick time. A through ball leaves Erskine with just the keeper to beat and he comfortably does just that.
Thistle have the comfort of a second goal. Welsh touches the ball back to Lawless whose low drive beats MacDonald.
MacDonald makes a good catch at his back post from a Booth cross. Thistle have uped the pace a bit in the last few minutes.
Thistle look for a penalty as Doolan goes down in the box.
Wood is able to get his head to a Formartine free kick from the left but his header goes over the bar.
Welsh's shot from outside the box is always on the rise and it clears the bar with a bit to spare. Game being played at a low tempo at the moment.
Masson knocks his corner in the direction of Anderson whose shot goes wide of the Thistle goal.
That should have been a second for Thistle and a second for Erskine after he and Doolan combine to leave Erskine with just MacDonald to beat but he knocks his effort wide.
MacDonald comes off his line to confidently claim Welsh's free kick.
Welsh is fouled and Thistle have a free kick about 35 yards out.
Doolan's neat through ball catches Erskine in an offside position.
Thistle get the early goal they were hoping for. Welsh's free kick is knocked back by Amoo for Erskine who finds the net from 8 yards out. All very simple.
Cerny comes off his line to claim a cross from the left in Formartine's first serious attack.
A Lawless shot from 20 yards out dips just a little too late and just clears the Formartine bar.
Booth crosses from the left but although Doolan gets his head to the ball his header actually takes the ball away from goal and out for a goal kick.
The corner falls to Erskine and he has the first shot at goal of the game with his effoert from 12 yards cleared from near the Formartine goal line.
Although Thistle have seen virtually all of the ball so far Formartine look well organised.
Thistle kick the game off and are shooting towards the city end of the ground in the first half.
As anticipated Alan Archibald has selected a full strength side for the Scottish Cup visit of Formartine United who included ex Jag Derek Young in their starting eleven.
Thist;le haven't been in competitive first team action since the home game with Kilmarnock at the end of December and the Jags starting eleven shows just one change from that game. David Amoo coming in to start with Ryan Edwards dropping to the bench.
New signing Mark Ridgers sits on the bench as sub goalkeeper for the very first time and also on the bench is the very welcome sight of Mustapha Dumbuya who has missed the whole of this season through injury so far.
Partick Thistle 4-0 Formartine United
After a three-week long winter break, Partick Thistle returned to competitive action as they began their William Hill Scottish Cup campaign at Firhill against Highland League club, Formartine United. The visiting side were able to topple Annan Athletic at North Lodge Park in the previous round, beating the League Two side 4-0 in one of the biggest cup shocks so far, proving that they shouldn’t be underestimated.
Alan Archibald made just one change to the side that started the team’s last game of 2016. Ryan Edwards dropped to the bench with David Amoo taking his place in the starting line-up. Liam Lindsay didn’t make the squad as he continues to recover from a broken nose. Thistle’s January acquisition, Mark Ridgers, was on the bench.
It was an unusual start to the game for the Jags as the ends were switched. Thistle had the unfamiliar experience of shooting towards the City End for the first half. That fact didn’t seem to hurt the Firhill side’s play as just five minutes in, the hosts had a chance to open the scoring. Callum Booth was on corner duty and, from in front of the Jackie Husband Stand, he hit a low ball into the centre of the box. The cross found Chris Erskine who tried to score on the half-volley. His attempt was goal bound but it bounced off the leg of the man on the post and was directed away from danger.
Although Formartine were able to escape that situation with the score still level, it wouldn’t stay that way for long. In the ninth minute, a deep Sean Welsh free-kick found Abdul Osman at the back post. The Jags’ skipper was able to turn the ball back towards the penalty spot for Chris Erskine, running onto the ball, to fire home from fairly close range, opening the scoring.
Erskine almost doubled the lead seven minutes later when a slick one-two between himself and Kris Doolan meant he found himself one-on-one with the United ‘keeper. He attempted a delicate touch to slot the ball under the outrushing goalie but he was only able to guide it wide.
19 minutes in the away team had their first chance of the game. They tried a similar corner routine to the one the Jags used earlier but this attempt didn’t lead to a shot on target as the arriving Formartine man blasted his shot well wide of the target.
To feel truly comfortable Thistle needed to increase the deficit and that’s exactly what they did in the 28th minute. Steven Lawless played the ball into Sean Welsh who had run into the box. Welsh found himself facing away from goal and decided to lay the ball back to Lawless. The wide-midfielder then unleashed a forceful shot towards the near post that beat Ewen MacDonald, all ends up.
Thistle weren’t satisfied with a two-goal lead, however, and found a third on the 29-minute mark. Kris Doolan fed the ball to Chris Erskine who then tapped it past the last man putting himself through on goal. The midfielder calmly slotted a low shot under the ‘keeper to make it 3-0 just 53 seconds after Stevie Lawless hit the back of the net with his strike.
There were still a couple of chances to be had before half-time for the home team. First, David Amoo got on the end of a pinpoint Callum Booth cross but his header was straight at the opposition goalie. Christie Elliott also had a chance prior to the interval. Thistle were able to carry the ball forward on the counter with Doolan receiving the ball in the attacking third. He chose to tee up the breaking Elliott. The Englishman unleashed a rasping shot towards the near post but could only find the side netting.
The referee blew for half-time and Alan Archibald would be feeling pleased at the break. His side had created plenty of chances and had three goals to show for it. Formartine had a very small amount of possession and had done very little with what they had. During the break, one change was made. Fans’ favourite Mustapha Dumbuya made his long awaited return from injury as he replaced Callum Booth. The Sierra Leone international received a standing ovation from the Firhill crowd as he made his first competitive appearance of the season.
Nine minutes into the second period, the Jags came close once again. Steven Lawless found space in behind his Formartine marker and directed a ball across goal. Abdul Osman was rushing in trying to add a goal to his assist from earlier in the match. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sort his positioning out and could only direct it wide of the back post.
The Thistle captain was unlucky to miss on that occasion but he would learn from his error. A short corner was taken and the ball was played to Steven Lawless on the edge of the box. The number 11 then hit a cross towards the back post which found Abdul Osman who, on the stretch, was able to direct the ball home. The goal was the Ghanaian’s third in a Thistle shirt and his first cup goal for the Jags.
Thistle made two further changes in the final half-hour. David Amoo was replaced by Ade Azeez and Sean Welsh was withdrawn while Andrew McCarthy came on to make his Partick Thistle first team debut.
With just four minutes left of the 90, Formartine almost grabbed a consolation goal. Tomas Cerny stepped up to take a goal kick but scuffed the attempted clearance. This allowed the visitors to get into the box with substitute Conor Gethins receiving the ball. He proceeded to skip past Adam Barton before shooting. However, his attempt flew past the near post much to the dismay of the travelling United fans.
Thistle were able to craft one more good chance through Ade Azeez though. The ex-Wimbledon striker picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and sprinted forward. He found space to shoot and unleashed an attempt across goal but it flashed just wide of the back stick.
That would be all for the match as the Jags advanced into the next round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. The fifth round draw is made tomorrow evening following the conclusion of the Albion Rovers vs Celtic clash. The Jags are next in action against Inverness on Saturday the 28th of January at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium as they return to Ladbrokes Premiership action.
THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Booth (Dumbuya, 45’), Barton, Devine, Elliott, Osman, Welsh (McCarthy, 75’), Lawless, Erskine, Amoo (Azeez, 62’), Doolan.
THISTLE SUBS (N/U): Ridgers, Gordon, McDaid, Edwards.
FORMARTINE UNITED TEAM: MacDonald, Young, Smith, Lawson, Crawford, Ferries, Rodger (Gauld, 81’), Masson, Wood, Anderson (Gethins, 71’), Barbour.
FORMARTINE UNITED SUBS (N/U): Reid, Dingwall, Jamieson, Berton, Michie
After a hiatus over the winter period, Partick Thistle returned to competitive action with a William Hill Scottish Cup clash against Formartine United of the Highland League. A Chris Erskine brace along with goals from Steven Lawless and Abdul Osman allowed Thistle to advance to the fifth round with a 4-0 victory over the visitors. The Jags’ boss Alan Archibald spoke with ptfc.co.uk after the match to offer his opinions on the day’s action.
He was extremely pleased with the way his team handled the game, when there was a lot of pressure to make sure that the fourth round’s big upset didn’t take place at Firhill.
“There are always going to be upsets and it was important that we weren’t on the wrong end of one of those upsets. The lads were very professional and we treated the opposition with respect. I thought that the boys were clinical in the first half and we finished the job by the break which made everything much simpler for us.”
Archie was happy to see long-term injury absentee Mustapha Dumbuya back on the field at Firhill.
“Callum Booth had a small problem with his Achilles so we decided that with us in a commanding position we would give Mustapha a chance to play. He’s got a long way to go in terms of fitness but it’s fantastic to see him back on the pitch running up and down the wing again.”
The manager couldn’t understate the importance of Dumbuya return from injury as the squad’s depth continues to improve.
“Mustapha is so lively but that’s just the way he plays. He’ll be like a new signing for us, especially since we didn’t even expect him back in January so it’s great to have him back as an option.”
Despite the winter break, Archibald was keen to stress that his side’s fitness levels were not slacking and that they are ready to go for the second half of the season.
“Fitness was never a concern, really. We worked very hard when we were in Spain to make sure that the squad would be up to speed when we got back. Everyone is fit and we have no more injuries so we’re looking forward to getting stuck into the league.”
The Thistle boss was disappointed that his team only grabbed one goal in the second half, despite a dominant display.
“Credit to our opponents, on that front, they were hard to break down but I thought at times we tried to score the perfect goal, trying to walk it in which was the only negative of the second half.”
Alan was also happy to be able to hand academy product, Andrew McCarthy, a first team debut.
“Andy’s a player that always plays really well with the development team. He came to Spain with us and stood out there. The first team players recognise that he has some real talent and potential so he has no problem playing alongside the experienced lads we have. He’s a tidy footballer and I’m pleased he made his debut.”
Archie now looks towards his side’s Ladbrokes Premiership clash against Inverness at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium on Saturday the 28th of January at 15:00.