SPFL Ladbrokes Championship
Sat 13 April, 2019. Kick Off: - 15:00
The Global Energy Stadium
City Centre Branch:
The City Centre bus for this fixture is now FULL.
Q Club – 08:45
Station Bar – 09:00
John Lambie Jordanhill Branch:
Jordanhill Station – 10:00
Thornwood Bar – 10:05
£22 for adults
£12 for concessions
All Jags fans are welcome but booking is essential.
Milngavie Station – 09:00
Esquire House – 09:20
Maryhill Community Halls – 09:35
£25 for adults.
£15 for concessions.
It’s the long trip to Dingwall for Caldwell and his side as they look to take three points from the league leaders. Depending on Friday night’s results County could have their first chance at sealing the league this weekend and it will be down to the Jags to put a damper on the celebrations. Caldwell spoke to ptfc.co.uk shortly before boarding the bus north and started with assurances that his side are focused and ready to win at the Global Energy Stadium.
“First and foremost we’re looking for three points for ourselves. We know we can cause them problems and we’ve shown that in the last two games. Unfortunately in those matches we haven’t had enough to take anything and that is the step we need to make on Saturday.
“We can take a lot from the first 45 minutes the last time we played them and we should have taken three points there. Likewise I thought we played really well in the game up there just before Christmas but it’s points that matter at the end of the day and that’s what we need to take from Saturday’s match. There are lessons to be learnt from both games but the positives are there too. Hopefully if we combine both of those we’ll come away with the win and the drive back down the road will feel a bit easier.”
Consistency has been a big word in the Jags camp in recent weeks. At times the football played by the Maryhill Men has been scintillating but periods of laxness sprinkled with errors have meant the points return hasn’t been what some of the play has deserved.
“Consistency is going to be all important and it comes down to the focus of the players. They need to focus on their performance and be ready to give everything for the team regardless of what else is going on around them. We’ve spoken to the players about making sure they control what they can control, in other words they focus on their own performances. We can’t control the outside factors, we just need to deal with them, but what we can do is ensure we are well prepared and put everything we can into the match.
“A level of consistency is something we’re working hard on during the week to give us the best chance of taking it into the game itself. Hard work will improve our consistency levels but it is frustrating because we have played some really good football at times and it has been let down by moments of slackness or poor play. When we put everything together though we should fear nobody.”
With just nine points separating fifth and tenth the Ladbrokes Championship shows no signs of settling down with twists and turns seemingly in the offing until the very last kick of the ball. Despite the madness around them Caldwell is adamant that Thistle simply need to focus on themselves to start moving up the table.
“You can’t predict anything in this league. I keep telling the players that we weren’t looking at the league table. All our focus needs to be on winning matches and making sure we are in a position much higher up the league come the end of the season. We’ve got five games left but we believe we are capable of winning all five.”
Finally the gaffer gave an update on the all-important team news ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“Obviously Stuart Bannigan is suspended which is disappointing but other than that there’s nothing major. We do have one or two niggles going into the game so we’ll need to wait and see what the state of play is by the end of today. Hopefully those carrying a little knock will recover in time because we will need everyone 100% committed come kick off in Dingwall.”
More exclusive preview interviews with Joe Cardle, Shea Gordon and Jags manager, Gary Caldwell, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.
Can’t make it to Dingwall? 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.
A free kick is cleared but comes back in and finds Anderson, his shot on the turn is well saved by Fox.
Some great footwork from Fitzpatrick but he is brought down right on the edge of the box.
Scott McDonald fires a fierce shot which Fox has to get down well to save.
McDonald finds Doolan with a neat ball but the flag is up for offside.
McDonald beats the offside trap but is at a tight angle. He tries to square but has no support.
Some good play by Thistle. The ball falls to Doolan but his effort is blocked on the line, it comes to Slater but his shot is over the bar.
County have a free kick in the middle 25 yards out but it's well over the bar and into the stand.
Great chance for Thistle. Doolan finds McDonald who feeds Spittal, he beats a number of challenges but drags his shot wide.
McDonald goes on a jinky run but his final shot is poor and doesn't trouble Fox.
Good chance for Thistle. Penrice and Spittal link up on the left, Penrice finds Gordon in space in the middle but Fox does well to hold his shot.
Spittal does well to win the ball on the right and get his cross in but it's headed away before it can find McDonald.
No clear cut chances for either side. Both teams have had spells of possession but no chances.
Following a thrilling 2-2 draw with Dunfermline Athletic in Glasgow, a trip to Dingwall faced Partick Thistle as they looked to take points off the league-leading Ross County contingent for the first time this season. Due to Dundee United’s victory over Ayr the day before, the Staggies weren’t able to secure the Championship title against Thistle but a win would represent a huge step towards their immediate return to Premiership football. On the other hand, the Jags were still battling at the bottom of the table with five teams scrapping to avoid the ninth and tenth positions.
There were three changes made by Gary Caldwell with all of them enforced. First of all, the ill Conor Hazard dropped to the bench to be replaced by Jamie Sneddon. Similar was true of Steven Saunders who could only make the subs due to sickness. As such, Jack McMillan moved into the back three alongside Steven Anderson and Sean McGinty with Christie Elliott retunring from injury at right wing-back on the opposite flank to James Penrice. In midfield, with Stuart Bannigan serving the first game of a two-match ban, Craig Slater was recalled to the starting line-up with Shea Gordon and Blair Spittal helping him out in the Jags engine room. Up front it was the partnership of Kris Doolan and Scott McDonald once again as the experienced duo looked to continue their fruitful partnership.
The match started slowly with neither team really taking control or creating very much of anything until the 16th minute when Scott Fox was forced into his first action of the game. Some quick passing got James Penrice into some space on the Jags’ left and he directed a cross into the danger area where Shea Gordon was making a run. He struck the ball on the volley but failed to meet it sweetly, allowing Fox to get down and make a save.
The visitors had another good opportunity to open the scoring a minute past the half hour mark through Blair Spittal. Christie Elliott fed the ball into Kris Doolan’s feet and the number nine laid it off for Scott McDonald who then fed Spittal on the left. The number seven then cut past one challenge and then another and then a third before taking aim but unfortunately the team top scorer dragged his effort well wide of the target.
Then, in the second half, County had probably their biggest moment of the match as Ross Stewart went down looking for a penalty. A loose ball in the Jags’ box was left by Jamie Sneddon meaning Steven Anderson had to scrabble over to clear it. Stewart managed to get past him on the blindside and the big man hit the deck after a tangle of legs. Had the spot kick been given, it would have meant County had been awarded a penalty in every game against Thistle this season, however, Gavin Duncan waved play on.
The away side then committed their first substitution of the afternoon as Aidan Fitzpatrick replaced Shea Gordon with 15 minutes left on the clock.
The change almost paid off too in the 82nd minute as in the second phase of a free-kick won by Fitzpatrick, the ball fell for Steven Anderson in the box. The centre-half struck the ball on the half-volley but saw his attempt parried away by former Thistle ‘stopper, Scott Fox. Miles Storey came on for Kris Doolan shortly thereafter.
That Anderson chance proved to be the final one of the game as the two teams fought to a goalless draw with the point not enough to keep Thistle off the foot of the table when results elsewhere are factored in.
Next up for the Jags is a home clash with Alloa Athletic next Saturday. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.
PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Sneddon, Penrice, McGinty, Anderson, McMillan, Elliott, Slater, Gordon (Fitzpatrick, 75’), Spittal, Doolan (Storey, 83’), McDonald.
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Hazard, Saunders, Cardle, Coulibaly, Mansell.
ROSS COUNTY TEAM: Fox, Kelly, Grivosti, Doyle, Fraser, Cowie, Lindsay, Spence (Graham, 58’), Mullin, Gardyne, Stewart (McManus, 76’).
UNUSED SUBS (RCO): Munro, Fontaine, Paton, Armstrong, Murray.
Partick Thistle travelled north to take on Ross County this afternoon as they continued the fight for survival. Going on the road to face the league leaders was always going to be a tough task but the Jags gave a very good account of themselves as they secured a 0-0 draw in Dingwall. Without dominating the ball, Thistle created the better of the game’s chances with Shea Gordon, Blair Spittal and Steven Anderson having the best sights of goal. Nevertheless, the contest finished goalless and the Maryhill men returned home with a single point. Jags boss, Gary Caldwell, spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the final whistle:
“I thought that we played really well today. We had our plan and the boys did an excellent job of executing it. We had our chances in both the first and second half but we weren’t clinical enough and that was the difference between one point and three.”
The gaffer told us that although other results have sent Thistle bottom, the focus is never on other teams but rather on what his team can do to pick up points.
“We have 12 points left to play for with two games against teams around us and a game in hand on some of those around us so it’s very much still in our hands. In football, you’ll get results that go for you and against you in other games but you can’t affect that. We’re completely focused on ourselves and getting points in our games so we don’t need to rely on other matches.”
Gary was pleased with the team’s defensive showing with Ross County failing to really trouble Jamie Sneddon’s goal whatsoever over the 90 minutes.
“I thought that we frustrated them which was pleasing to see. They’re a very talented attacking team but they were taking long shots and playing passes out for goal kicks which is a testament to our backline who were very organised and concentrated all game long despite a couple of changes in the defence.”
Now entering the final four games of the season, Caldwell is keen to start that final run of games with a win next week against Alloa.
“It’s obviously a big game; they all are now. They’re in a good run of form at the moment and suddenly they’re up in sixth but it’s still only a four-point gap and a win next weekend would go a long way to bridging that. The last time we played them, we beat them and we need to take confidence from that into the game.”
A more in depth video interview with Gary Caldwell is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Sean McGinty and Jamie Sneddon – 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