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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 7 March, 2015. Kick Off: - 15:00
Global Energy Stadium

Ross County
21
Mark Brown
5
Scott Boyd
36
Jackson Irvine
40
Michael Gardyne (Graham Carey (23), 89 mins)
11
Craig Curran (Filip Kiss (10), 84 mins)
24
Raffaele De Vita
12
Jamie Reckord
43
Paul Quinn
16
Liam Boyce (Jake Jervis (9), 78 mins)
26
Martin Woods
44
Marcus Fraser
 
Subs
1
Antonio Reguero (GK)
9
Jake Jervis
10
Filip Kiss
3
Abdoulaye Méïté
7
Joe Cardle
20
Darvydas Šernas
23
Graham Carey
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
12
Paul Gallacher
2
Stephen O'Donnell
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
James Craigen (Kris Doolan (9), 55 mins)
8
Stuart Bannigan
11
Steven Lawless (Ryan Stevenson (10), 69 mins)
13
Frederic Frans
15
Kallum Higginbotham
18
Abdul Osman
29
Lyle Taylor (David Wilson (23), 69 mins)
30
Dale Keenan
 
Subs
1
Scott Fox (GK)
9
Kris Doolan
10
Ryan Stevenson
21
Ben Richards-Everton
22
Gary Fraser
23
David Wilson
28
Declan McDaid
 
Subs
1
Antonio Reguero (GK)
9
Jake Jervis
10
Filip Kiss
3
Abdoulaye Méïté
7
Joe Cardle
20
Darvydas Šernas
23
Graham Carey
 
Subs
1
Scott Fox (GK)
9
Kris Doolan
10
Ryan Stevenson
21
Ben Richards-Everton
22
Gary Fraser
23
David Wilson
28
Declan McDaid
Match Preview

Ross County v Partick Thistle – 7th March 2015

Having arrested Thistle’s poor run of form, it was a happier Alan Archibald who spoke to ptfc.co.uk ahead of his team travelling north to the Highlands on Friday afternoon.

“We were much much better on Saturday against Dundee United. The recent performances haven’t been up to the standard that Scott, the players or I see as acceptable and it was good to put that right on Saturday.

“Ross County are in a difficult position but we know from a couple of weeks ago exactly how difficult they can be to play against. Not taking anything away from them but we were very poor that night and deserved to lose. We’ve already received a big boost from the United game and a win against County would stretch the gap and go a long way towards making us safe in the Premiership for another season.”

Jim McIntyre has made a lot of changes to the County side since taking charge and it is clear to see that this has been paying dividends on the pitch.

“It is a totally different side to the one we played at the beginning of the season both in terms of personnel and confidence. They’re on a great run at the moment and will be fully expecting to keep that going against us on Saturday. We just need to make sure we don’t let that happen.”

There were a few injury doubts last week and, with Kallum Higginbotham coming off in the later stages of the tie at Tannadice the team news could be all important this week.

Kallum is fine, he trained today and seems to have shaken off the knock he picked up in Dundee. In terms of the rest of the squad, Dan Seaborne is injured and suspended so will miss out and Sean Welsh is still sidelined too. We still have question marks over Christie Elliott, Callum Booth and Ben Richards-Everton but will give them all every chance.”

Match Report

Ross County v Partick Thistle – 7th March 2015

Having picked up a terrific three points the previous week and ending a terrible run with victory at Tannadice confidence was high among the Thistle players and fans alike.

With the team looking to redress their poor performance against County 14 days earlier, manager, Alan Archibald, was forced to make one change from the victory over United, Christie Elliott missing out through injury and Dale Keenan slotting in to replace him at left back. Callum Booth also missed out through injury and his place on the bench went to David Wilson.

It was County who got the game started but it was Thistle who were on the front foot early, a Higginbotham free kick caught easily by Brown after Craigen had been the victim of a late challenge.

The Jags were playing into a strong wind in the first half, evident by the fact that Gallacher’s kicks were struggling to reach the halfway line, while his opposite number saw more than a couple of his kicks go straight through to the Thistle keeper.

In the 9th minute Craigen picked up a loose ball in midfield and found the run of Lyle Taylor but he could only shoot wide from 22 yards. Brilliant skill from Kallum Higginbotham saw him leave the County defence on the deck and his cut back found Lawless who had a real chance to put Thistle ahead. Unfortunately for the visitors though the wee man’s shot was blasted over from no more than 10 yards.

The Thistle pressure kept coming and Frans did well to get his head to a Bannigan free kick, but the keeper saved and County cleared, Frans’ claims for a penalty falling on deaf ears.

Lawless, who continued to look dangerous early on, then did well to win a header and find Taylor who could again only shoot wide when perhaps he had better options to his right. Osman then saw a header go wide at the back post as Thistle continued to dominate.

As the half wore on the home side did begin to find their feet as Irvine headed wide from a Reckford cross having got in behind Dale Keenan. It was an early warning for Thistle that showed they must stay focused.

Stephen O’Donnell, one of the Thistle standouts in the game, then side footed an effort just past the post after County had only half cleared.

In the 33rd minute Thistle failed to heed the earlier warning and another ball in behind would ultimately cost them the game. An angled pass in behind Keenan found Boyce, his shot was saved by Gallacher but the ball spun up in the air and Curran headed home from 6 yards out, Balatoni unable to get in front of the effort to prevent County making it 1-0.

Just before half time Higginbotham saw his shot from a tight angle deflected into the side netting and, despite long spells of dominance for the Jags, it was the home side who led at the break.

With Thistle now having the wind at their backs it was hoped that they could break down a stubborn home defence. It was a scrappy opening to the half with no fluency in the play from either side, but in the 52nd minute, a long ball found Irvine and his cross picked out Gardyne, but thankfully for Thistle his turn and shot went wide of the target.

Doolan replaced Craigen as Thistle went with two up front and it almost paid off when a fierce Lawless shot was well saved by Brown who couldn’t hold on to it. Lyle Taylor pounced on the loose ball and fired home from the close range only to see the linesman’s flag raised as he wheeled away to celebrate. It was certainly a tight call.

In the 59th minute the game changed again when Higginbotham lost possession and, as he chased Gardyne scythed down the County player. Despite the reckless challenge it was still a surprise to many in the ground when the referee flashed a red card.

With the Jags now down to ten men it was going to make things even more difficult to get back in the game. Quinn saw his shot deflected wide by Doolan on the post although no corner was given.

Substitute, David Wilson, who was impressive when he came on, found O’Donnell with a great pass. He in turn fed Stevenson but his shot only hit the side netting.

Thistle showed real character and bite to not only remain in the game but also to create chances, Frans doing well to head De Vita’s dangerous cross over as County tried to hit the Jags on the break.

Stevenson then curled a free kick just wide and Wilson saw his 25 yard shot saved by Brown as Thistle continued to search for an elusive equaliser. Frans then saw his shot blocked as he played up front for the last ten minutes.

As the minutes ticked away Gallacher saved well from Kiss, who then nearly grabbed another by robbing Gallacher of the ball and poking just wide of an empty net.

The game finished 1-0 and brought to an end a disappointing match for Thistle and made for a long trip home for the 298 hardy souls who made the trip up.

Thistle: Gallacher, O’Donnell, Frans, Balatoni, Keenan, Bannigan, Osman, Higginbotham, Craigen (Doolan), Lawless (Stevenson), Taylor (Wilson)

Subs: Fox, Doolan (55), Stevenson (69), Richards-Everton, Fraser, McDaid, Wilson (69)

Match Reaction

Ross County v Partick Thistle – 7th March 2015

A battling second half Thistle performance, much of which was played with only 10 men after Kallum Higginbotham was sent off, wasn’t enough to take any points back to Firhill as the Jags went down 1-0 to the Highlanders. Alan Archibald was understandably disappointed but keen to take positives from his team’s performance.

“I don’t think there was a lot in the game and if anything we were probably shading it. After we lost the goal it was always going to be difficult to get back into it but Stevie Lawless has a right good chance at 1-0 that could have changed the game for us.

“There were a lot of positives for us to take from the game but when a team like County get the first goal it can make it ever so difficult to get back into the match.”

Kris Doolan and Ryan Stevenson both came onto the pitch after the red card for Higginbotham and Thistle played two strikers for much of the second half as Archibald looked to get the all important equaliser.

“We thought we would have a go and get two strikers on the pitch even though we were a man down. We felt we had nothing to lose at that point and I thought the lads were a credit to themselves showing real hunger and desire to go out and get that equalising goal. Unfortunately it just wasn’t to be on this occasion but I thought we deserved something from the game.”

The Thistle gaffer is only too aware of how close to the relegation battle Thistle are now.

“Yes I think we are in a battle now. I said that a couple of weeks ago when we lost to Ross County at Firhill. We went and put in a great performance at Tannadice but unless you put a run of results together you will end up in and around the bottom places.”

Along with the goal the main talking point of the game was the red card for Kallum Higginbotham.

“I think Kallum was frustrated. He took a bad touch and gave the ball away and then he was just trying to stop the boy breaking down the pitch. Sometimes they’re a yellow, sometimes they’re a red but we have no complaints.”

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