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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Tue 2 April, 2013. Kick Off: - 19:45
Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy.

Raith Rovers
1
David McGurn
2
Jason Thomson
3
Laurie Ellis
4
Grant Murray (Eddie Malone (12), 70 mins)
5
Simon Mensing
6
Stuart Anderson
7
Grant Anderson
8
Allan Walker
9
Brian Graham
10
Greig Spence
11
Joe Hamill (Joe Cardle (14), 71 mins)
 
Subs
12
Eddie Malone
14
Joe Cardle
15
Ross Callachan
16
Josh Watt
17
Ross Laidlaw
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Stuart Bannigan
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
Sean Welsh
8
James Craigen
9
Kris Doolan (Steven Craig (15), 65 mins)
10
Steve Lawless (Jordan McMillan (17), 60 mins)
11
Chris Erskine
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Ross Forbes
15
Steven Craig
16
Christie Elliott
17
Jordan McMillan
 
Subs
12
Eddie Malone
14
Joe Cardle
15
Ross Callachan
16
Josh Watt
17
Ross Laidlaw
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Ross Forbes
15
Steven Craig
16
Christie Elliott
17
Jordan McMillan
Match Preview

Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle – 2nd April 2013

There is scarcely time to draw breath between matches at the moment. No sooner had we gone four points clear at the top of the league on Saturday than we are back in midweek action with another trip through to Fife; this time to face Raith Rovers.
It was Raith Rovers with their win over Morton at the weekend that helped Thistle open up a gap at the top of the league and manager Alan Archibald is in no doubt that his side will face a similarly tough fixture.

“It’s always difficult at Stark’s Park” said Alan before continuing;
“The last time we played up there Kris Doolan scored a late goal to get what I thought was a great point and the fact that they beat Morton on Saturday just emphasises how difficult this game is going to be for us. In Brian Graham they have a player who has been on fire this season and he will be a real threat to us.”
The manager isn’t worried that Sunday’s Ramsdens Cup Final will prove to be any kind of distraction;
“The Cup Final is a big game but we will be stressing to the players that this game is the bigger game, in truth every game we play now this season is something of a cup final. This match with Raith Rovers is a massive game for us and we are well aware of the significance of a Thistle victory. We’ve always been aware of the importance in turning games in hand into points and we’ve managed to do that so far. There is a real sense of togetherness in the squad; their attitude has been brilliant and we will go through to Kirkcaldy with the aim of again taking full advantage of another game in hand.”
In pursuit of the three points the manager will have virtually a full squad to select from.
“The only two players that should miss this game are the two that missed Saturday’s match at Cowdenbeath; Paul Paton and Hugh Murray. I am giving thought to freshening the team up but to be honest I don’t think that the players are looking tired. It is, I think, a mental thing and you feel more tired when you are losing than you do when you are winning. We’ve had a lot of games to play but the players have shown real hunger and desire in those matches. Besides Raith Rovers have also had a tough schedule of matches and will also be playing their fourth game in ten days.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
5              0              0              16           2
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Steven Craig 14
Kris Doolan 14
Chris Erskine 14
Steven Lawless 13
Conrad Balatoni 5
Stuart Bannigan 4
Ross Forbes 4
Aaron Muirhead 4
Christie Elliott 2
Stephen O’Donnell 2
Aaron Sinclair 2
Sean Welsh 2
James Craigen 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday March 30th 2013
Cowdenbeath 1, Partick Thistle 2
Raith Rovers Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
2              1              2              7              9
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Brian Graham 24
Greig Spence 14
Pat Clarke 8
Allan Walker 6
Grant Anderson 5
Douglas Hill 4
Simon Mensing 2
David Smith 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday March 30th 2013
Raith Rovers 2, Morton 1
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday December 15th 2012
Partick Thistle 3, Raith Rovers 2
Thistle: Smith, Muirhead, Sinclair, Paton, Balatoni, Archibald, Lawless, Bannigan, Craig, Forbes, Erskine (McGuigan).
Rovers: Laidlaw, Thomson, Malone, Ellis, Hill, Hamill, G Anderson, Walker, Graham, Spence, Smith (Clarke).
Scorers
Thistle: Bannigan (21), Lawless (32), Craig (87)
Rovers: Spence (12), Graham (81)
Crowd: 2,221
Match Highlights

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Tuesday April 2nd 2013
Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle
Prices
Adult: £17
Junior: £9
Senior Citizen: £9
Pre-school concession: Free
Parent and Child: £20
College/Student concession: £13 (proof of status required)
Jobseeker concession: £9 (proof of status required)
Disability and carer concession: £9
Supporters Bus Information
Match Officials
Referee: Calum Murray
Assistant Referees: Joseph Lawson and Thomas Clark
Other First Division Fixtures
Hamilton Accies v Dumbarton
Livingston v Falkirk

Match Report

Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle – 2nd April 2013

A battling point at Stark’s Park enabled Thistle to open up a five point lead at the top of the First Division with six games remaining but they were at anything but their best against a Raith Rovers determined to dent another side’s title aspirations having beaten Morton at the weekend. They may well feel a little aggrieved at not having done son.
Manager Alan Archibald selected the same side that had defeated Cowdenbeath, right down to his choice of substitutes but he was forced to watch his side placed firmly on the back foot right from the start.
Thistle seldom find it easy at Stark’s Park and they could have found themselves trailing in this game as early as the second minute. Brian Graham got space on the right hand side of the Thistle box and Scott Fox had to be alert to turn his shot round the post for a corner.
That rather set the tone for the first 60 minutes of the game. With 10 minutes played Thistle almost gifted Rovers the lead. Steven Lawless’ slack pass back was seized upon by Greig Spence but Spence, despite being left with just Fox to beat, wasn’t able to take advantage of the chance that he was presented with.
Grant Anderson was posing Thistle problems down the right hand side and a teasing cross from him was only inches out of the reach of Brian Graham.
Scott Fox was again called into action saving well in the 37th minute before Hamill sent the ball over the bar as the Thistle goal just about emerged unscathed.
Thistle weren’t entirely out of things themselves but with Rovers pressing them every time they got the ball they did find opportunities limited. Kris Doolan missed one of the rare chances that came Thistle’s way in the first half after McGurn had saved at the feet of Steven Lawless and Chris Erskine, for once finding a bit of space, saw a low drive saved by the Rovers keeper.
Thistle though were more than happy to get into the dressing room at half-time with the score still level at 0-0.
There was little improvement either immediately after half-time. Scott Fox was forced to come from his line to clear the ball from the very edge of his box almost right at the start of the half as Rovers picked up from where they had left off in the first half.
What was already becoming an increasingly difficult night became just that bit harder for Thistle when twice in the space of seven minutes Aaron Muirhead was booked for fouls on Grant Anderson leaving Thistle to battle out the remaining 33 minutes with just ten men.
And battle them out they did. Strangely the reduction in numbers seemed to serve as something of a wake up call for Thistle and they performed better with ten men than they had with eleven. Jordan McMillan was brought on to make his Thistle debut after Muirhead’s dismissal and he slotted in well at the back but not before Graham had given Thistle a major fright when he turned sharply in the box before sending a shot narrowly wide of goal.
That was probably Rovers best chance of the second half although Graham was again a threat shooting over the bar when the ball just wouldn’t sit up for him.
At the other end Stuart Bannigan tested McGurn with a low drive after a forceful run from midfield and sub Steven Craig was adamant that he had been impeded in the box following a James Craigen free kick from the right hand side.
Ultimately this was a good point for Thistle; especially having played over a third of the game with just ten men. A seven point haul from three away games in the space of six days represents good work in anyone’s book and leaves Thistle destiny this season very much in their own hands.

Match Reaction

Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle – 2nd April 2013

The performance at Stark’s Park on Tuesday night wasn’t the greatest of the season but the point gained could yet prove to be hugely significant come the end of the season. Manager Alan Archibald was certainly in no doubt that it had been a good point when he spoke to [link:HOME] after the game.
“It was a brilliant point, I don’t think there is any doubt about that especially as we didn’t turn up for the best part of 60 minutes. Until the sending off I don’t think that we played at all. It was like a wake up call for them and after that I thought that we started to play a bit. They started to pass the ball, they worked hard and started to create chances and they never did any of that while we had eleven men. It’s hard to be too critical of them though because they have been absolutely  outstanding.  We knew how hard it was going to be here so we were under no illusions about how difficult it was going to be. It was a strange one. ”
Alan continued;
“I said to them before the game; don’t wait for something to happen to make you go and play, make things happen yourself. They obviously didn’t listen to that. It took the sending off for them to think that they needed to work harder, pass the ball and play; and that’s what they did. The performance in the last 25 minutes was much more like the performances we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks; it was like night and day.”
Jordan McMillan slotted into the position vacated by Aaron Muirhead following his red card and the manager was pleased with Jordan’s contribution on his Thistle debut.
“I thought Jordan did really well and was a calming influence at the back. Although he is young he’s played a lot of games at a high level. He slotted in well and I think he showed how important it was that we signed him. We were always aware that we need to bring someone in. I’m struggling, Paul Paton’s struggling, Hugh Murray is also injured and we needed to replace David Rowson. So it was always my plan to get someone in, and it’s good that someone of Jordan’s calibre became available. Otherwise it would have been a younger type of player on an Emergency Loan that we would have been looking at.”
Could we look back at the point gained in this match as being significant come the season’s end.
“I thought that when Kris Doolan scored a late goal here earlier in the season. I think Raith Rovers showed on Saturday how difficult a place Stark’s Park is to go to as they gave Morton a bit of a going over.”
Although this game wasn’t won the manager was delighted with the points return from three successive away games.
“We had those three games in Fife in the space of a week and I don’t think anyone would have thought that we would have taken seven points from those games. We’ve no complaints about seven points from nine especially as they were all away from home and we kept another clean sheet tonight which is another positive.”
With six games to go our destiny lies very much within our own hands. Said Alan;
“I think that it has always been in our own hands. Because we won our games in hand and drew tonight it’s in our own hands. The players know that and they know that we can’t have a repeat of the first 55 minutes tonight too often as another side might have punished us.”
Can we now start to look forward to Sunday’s Ramsdens Cup Final?
“We can now. The players are in tomorrow and then they have a day off and when they are back in we can start planning to face a very good Queen of the South side. I’ve not managed to see them live as we’ve had so many games but I’ve watched a few dvds of them as well as having them watched and getting reports on them. They are very good going forward and there are a lot of similarities to ourselves. They play with a lot of confidence and they move the ball about. It’s going to be a tough match.”
Alan added;
“There should be a great atmosphere. Everyone at the Club and all the Thistle fans you meet are all really looking forward to it. The fans are going to turn up in numbers for this game but they turned up in numbers for tonight’s game as well. To be honest I think they helped get us over the line tonight and get us a point; they were very, very noisy. They’ve been like that all season and hopefully we can put on a show for them on Sunday.”

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