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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 17 January, 2015. Kick Off: - 15:00
McDiarmid Park

St Johnstone
1
Alan Mannus
2
Dave Mackay
4
Simon Lappin
5
Frazer Wright
6
Steven Anderson
7
Chris Millar (Scott Brown (20), 24 mins)
9
Steven MacLean
10
David Wotherspoon
16
Liam Caddis
24
Brian Easton (Tam Scobbie (3), 82 mins)
29
Michael O'Halloran (Gary McDonald (8), 73 mins)
 
Subs
15
Steve Banks (GK)
3
Tam Scobbie
8
Gary McDonald
14
Brian Graham
19
Gary Miller
20
Scott Brown
25
Christopher Kane
Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
12
Paul Gallacher
2
Stephen O'Donnell (David Wilson (23), 73 mins)
3
Daniel Seaborne
6
Conrad Balatoni
8
Stuart Bannigan
9
Kris Doolan (Nathan Eccleston (19), 65 mins)
10
Ryan Stevenson
11
Steven Lawless (Kallum Higginbotham (15), 59 mins)
18
Abdul Osman
28
Declan McDaid
30
Dale Keenan
 
Subs
1
Scott Fox (GK)
7
James Craigen
13
Frederic Frans
15
Kallum Higginbotham
19
Nathan Eccleston
23
David Wilson
26
Liam Lindsay
 
Subs
15
Steve Banks (GK)
3
Tam Scobbie
8
Gary McDonald
14
Brian Graham
19
Gary Miller
20
Scott Brown
25
Christopher Kane
 
Subs
1
Scott Fox (GK)
7
James Craigen
13
Frederic Frans
15
Kallum Higginbotham
19
Nathan Eccleston
23
David Wilson
26
Liam Lindsay
Match Preview

St Johnstone v Partick Thistle – 17th January 2015

Having travelled to Inverness last Friday only to see the game against County cancelled, Alan Archibald is desperate to get his players out on the pitch again. He gave us the latest news when he spoke to ptfc.co.uk yesterday afternoon.

“There are some boys, the ones that missed out on the United game, who haven’t played since Motherwell in December so Saturday was a really bitter blow for them. We’ve trained well this week though and just have to hope everything is OK come 3pm tomorrow.

“St Johnstone struggled for a period at the start of the season but they went on a great run and that is something we’ll be looking to emulate as that is a major reason for them being in the top six now. The way they have ground out 1-0 victories time and again is something we have to look at. If we had done more of that we might be further up the table by now.”

The games against St Johnstone last season were all close games, Archibald suspects that will be the case again.

“Our games against them last season were all tough but they were all close as well. We should be going in to the game on Saturday in confident mood, we have nothing to fear and know that we have what it takes to hurt them. They’ll have their game plan too though and I’ve no doubt it will be a tough 90 minutes.”

The upside of the games being called off was that a few of the players got time to recover from illness and injury.

“The likes of Abdul Osman and Dan Seaborne have had that time to get themselves fit again. Freddie as well has started training with us again. Sean Welsh also started some training again this week but the weekend will come too soon for him I think. Other than that we only have a couple, Christie has picked up a knock and Gary Fraser has fallen ill again so they’ll probably both miss out.”

Match Report

St Johnstone v Partick Thistle – 17th January 2015

Having travelled up to Dingwall last weekend only to see the game against Ross County postponed early on Saturday morning, Thistle made the shorter trip back up the A9 to Perth this weekend. The Jags were set to face a St Johnstone side who had tasted back to back defeats in their first two games of 2015.

With Thistle not having won in Perth since 1993 it has never been a happy hunting ground, but hopes were high that, with manager Alan Archibald having a few familiar faces to recall to the squad, the Jags could lay the ghost to rest.

Dan Seaborne and Abdul Osman returned to the starting 11 in place of Liam Lindsay and Gary Fraser who was ill. Frederic Frans and Kallum Higginbotham also returned to the bench. Youngsters Dale Keenan and Declan McDaid kept their places in the side after impressive displays against Dundee United.

After only ten seconds Kris Doolan almost got in behind the Perth side’s defence which, eventually, managed to scramble the ball clear. However, after only three minutes, it was the home side who took the lead. The Thistle defence had a couple of chances to clear an Easton cross ball and when the ball broke to Mackay his 20 yard shot took a deflection off Seaborne and crept in at Gallacher’s near post.

The home side almost extended their lead when a Lappin cross found Caddis rising above the unsuspecting Keenan forcing Gallacher into a brilliant fingertip save from the header. Thistle hit back and a good Bannigan pass allowed Keenan to drive forward and his 25 yard shot was blocked by Wright.

The Jags came closer still after Doolan had got the better of Mackay and won a corner. Bannigan’s took the set piece and found Stevenson 14 yards out. The Jags’ number 10 turned two defenders and his rocket shot smashed off the Saints bar with Mannus rooted to the spot – surely a Thistle equaliser was on the cards?

The Saints weren’t for lying down though and it wasn’t long before Wotherspoon sent a 22 yard shot wide of Gallacher’s post.

Thistle enjoyed the majority of possession, but again the ball in the final third of the park was lacking the creative and killer touch to trouble the home side’s defence. With Saints happy to sit back and hit on the counter attack it was already proving a tough afternoon for the Thistle front line.

As the first half ticked on a great ball from Stevenson found McDaid but, as he cut into the box, there was no support and he fired into the side netting from an acute angle. Balatoni and O’Donnell then did well to crowd out O’Halloran after he had burst clean through from a long punt up the pitch and then only a terrific last ditch tackle from Seaborne on McLean prevented any more scoring as the teams went in at half time with the score at 1-0 to the Perth Saints.

There were no changes for either side into the second half and McDaid saw his half volley blocked in the early stages. However, yet again, three minutes into the half and the Saints extended their lead with a simple goal.

Wotherspoon swung in a corner and Anderson rose, completely unmarked, to glance a powerful header at the near post past Gallacher to make it 2-0.

Lappin nearly extended the lead further with a curling effort from 25 yards. Mannus then needed two attempts to gather a Doolan effort from the edge of the box after he had turned Wright, Mannus gathering at the second attempt – just before McDaid could get a touch.

Higginbotham and Eccleston replaced Lawless and Doolan respectively and the two combined in the 67th minute when Thistle should have been back in the game. A lovely through pass behind the defence sent Eccleston clean through on Mannus, he elected to go round the keeper but saw his shot cleared off the line by Easton.

A dangerous Bannigan cross evaded Eccleston and McDaid saw his cross deflected by Easton into the keeper’s arms. With five minutes left good pressure by Bannigan saw him force a mistake from Mackay and his pass found Higginbotham who fired wide from 22 yards.

The last chance of the game came in injury time when Stevenson fired a 35 yard shot towards the top corner, forcing a magnificent save from Mannus. It was the home side who were celebrating at the final whistle, a goal early in each half enough to give them a 2-0 victory while, for Thistle, despite all their possession, a lack of a cutting edge in the final third of the park proved costly.

Thistle: Gallacher, O’Donnell (73), Seaborne, Balatoni, Keenan, Osman, Bannigan, Lawless (59), Stevenson, McDaid, Doolan (65)

Subs: Fox, Craigen, Frans, Higginbotham (Lawless), Eccleston (Doolan), Lindsay, Wilson (O’Donnell)

Match Reaction

St Johnstone v Partick Thistle – 17th January 2015

Thistle haven’t enjoyed the best of times in Perth since St Johnstone moved to McDiarmid Park, having not won at the ground since 1993. That run continued as a goal early in each half sent Thistle to a 2-0 defeat. Manager Alan Archibald chatted to ptfc.co.uk shortly after the full time whistle.

“We lost a goal to a deflection and a set play. St Johnstone are a hard enough team to play against without giving them a goal of a start. We’ve got plenty to be optimistic about but we can’t give good sides one goal starts.

“The first one we had a chance to clear it in the right back area and we didn’t. The deflection doesn’t help on the way in. After that, in the first half, I thought we were the better team. Ryan Stevenson is unlucky, he hits the bar and that was the difference I think. We started the second half well enough but switched off at a corner. You can’t do that against a good side like St Johnstone.”

Declan McDaid made his second start for Thistle and the manager was quick to praise him.

“I thought Declan did well, he was one of our bright sparks. If we were going to get a goal it was going to come through him or Ryan Stevenson who were creative in the first half. I thought the two of them did really well.”

Despite defeat, the squad are still looking upwards rather than below.

“I think St Johnstone are a bit out of sight now. This was a chance for us to claw them back, even though we’ve got games in hand. We need to put a run together, which isn’t something we’ve done yet this season. We’ve thrown the gauntlet down to the players but they need to show the belief to go and do it. We know there are teams behind us that are trying to grab our coattails which is why it’s important.”

Thistle ended the game playing with three at the back as the squad went down to the bare bones.

“Stephen O’Donnell had to come off injured, Christie Elliott had a knock and Gary Fraser is ill. He hasn’t really recovered from the Dundee United game and we’re down to the bare bones at the moment. We’ve got Hamilton on Wednesday and we just need to try and get everybody fit for that.”

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