SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Sat 28 September, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
McDiarmid Park, Perth
After making the League Cup trip to Dundee midweek Thistle are on the road tomorrow; this time to Perth to face St Johnstone, who are just one point and one position behind Thistle in the current Premiership league table.
We are, of course, going into Saturday’s game on the back of a 4-1 defeat at Tannadice but score line was a little misleading in terms of reflecting the passage of play throughout the 90 minutes. Manager Alan Archibald, when speaking to [link:HOME] a little earlier today, was certainly far from dispirited in the wake of the defeat.
“I was more down after the defeat by Aberdeen than I was on Wednesday night and that was due to the fact that we had played so poorly against Aberdeen while we didn’t play badly against Dundee United. The 4-1 score on Wednesday would suggest that we didn’t play well but that wasn’t the case. I would have been much more worried had we not played well but that wasn’t the case. Obviously we need to cut out mistakes at the back and be more lethal in front of goal. In terms of scoring goals all the focus seems to be on the strikers but we need to be more lethal all over the park. It isn’t just down to the strikers to score the goals. Last season one of our success was the fact that we scored goals from all areas of the park and that’s something that we need to improve upon this season.”
Alan went on;
“As I said I wasn’t unhappy the performance against Dundee United and the 4-1 score was a sore one to take. I can’t in all honestly look at those that played and say that such and such a player had a nightmare; because nobody did. Those that came into the team on Wednesday I felt all did well, especially Christie Elliott and he is certainly in my thoughts for tomorrow. He’s started to get the reputation, on the basis of the end of last season and the start of this one, as being an impact player but he showed on Wednesday that he is more than that. He’s playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, he’s enjoying his football and enjoying his training.”
As for team news the manager has virtually a full squad to pick from tomorrow.
“Stuart Bannigan, after missing the game at Tannadice, should be okay for tomorrow but Jordan McMillan will again miss out; he should be back in full training Monday and Tuesday. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair picked up a wee knock on Wednesday but he should be fine. We know that tomorrow’s game is going to be a really difficult one, they all are, but we need to approach the game with the belief that we can come back with all three points.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W D L F A
2 1 2 7 10
Scorers Season 2013-2014
Steven Lawless 3
Aaron Muirhead 3
Christie Elliott 2
Conrad Balatoni 1
Kris Doolan 1
Ross Forbes 1
Kallum Higginbotham 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Scottish League Cup Third Round
Wednesday September 25th 2013
Dundee United 4, Partick Thistle 1
St Johnstone Stats
Current Form – Last Five
W D L F A
1 1 3 5 8
Scorers Season 2013-2014
Stevie May 6
Liam Caddis 1
Gwion Edwards 1
Nigel Hasselbaink 1
David Mackay 1
Steven MacLean 1
David Wotherspoon 1
Frazer Wright 1
Scottish League Cup Third Round
Tuesday September 24th 2013
Hamilton Accies 0, St Johnstone 3
Scottish Cup Fifth Round
Wednesday February 9th 2013
St Johnstone 2, Partick Thistle 0
St Johnstone: Enckelman, MacKay, Grainger, Anderson, Duberry, Morris, Davidson, Miller, Samuel (MacDonald), May (Parkin), Taylor (Craig)
Thistle: Fox, Paton, Boyle, Hodge, Kinniburgh, Archibald, Cairney (Donnelly), Rowson, Grehan (Fraser), Flannigan, Erskine (Campbell).
St Johnstone: Davidson (42), Craig (55)
Saturday September 28th 2013
St Johnstone v Partick Thistle
Over 65s £12
13-18 year olds £11
Thistle fans can also use the Ormond Family Stand, a mixed family stand. One adult and up to two children aged 12 or under can gain admission at a cost of £15. Children aged 13-16 can gain admission at a cost of £8. Unaccompanied adults or children aged 12 or under will not be admitted.
Getting to McDiarmid Park
Supporters Bus Information
Referee: Craig Thomson
Assistant Referees: David McGeachie and Alastair Mather
Fourth Official: Greg Aitken
Hearts v Dundee United
Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Hibernian
Kilmarnock v Celtic
Motherwell v Ross County
St Mirren v Aberdeen (Monday)
Thistle returned from Perth, McDiarmid Park being a venue that Thistle haven’t prised full points from since the 1990s, with a point after a battling performance.
There was a blow for Thistle before the start with Scott Fox ruled out after picking up an injury in training on Friday though, despite being far from 100% fit, he occupied a place on the bench. Paul Gallacher, who made his Thistle debut, was then one of four changes that Alan Archibald made to his team after the midweek defeat at Tannadice; Aaron Muirhead, Stuart Bannigan and Isaac Osbourne all being restored to the starting eleven.
As they had done at Tannadice, Thistle made a positive start to this game. Conrad Balatoni, after robbing Stevie May of the ball, tried his luck with a shot from fully 35 yards before Kallum Higginbotham drilled a cross low into the St Johnstone six yard box.
The big difference between this game and the match at Dundee United though was the fact that Thistle were rewarded for their positive start with a goal. In the sixth minute Kris Doolan was able to take advantage of a slip from Steven Anderson and took the ball round home keeper Alan Mannus. It initially looked as if Doolan may have taken the ball too wide but he managed to find the net with great aplomb from a tight angle.
Paul Gallacher finally had his first touch of the ball in the 8th minute and it was an important touch; Gallacher getting down low at his right hand post to turn a Stevie May effort round the post for a corner.
It was Thistle though that at this stage of the game that looked the more likely side to add further goals. In the 14th minute Aaron Taylor-Sinclair chipped a cross into the box that Kris Doolan was unfortunate to send just wide with a glancing header.
Doolan was involved in Thistle’s next near thing. Aaron Muirhead’s delightful through ball was collected by Doolan who in turned laid the ball into the path of Kallum Higginbotham who saw his shot saved.
Half-time was just five minutes away when Thistle were again close to a second goal. Higginbotham did well to cross from the right where Kris Doolan was unable to direct his header away from Mannus in the St Johnstone goal.
Two minutes later and St Johnstone were level. They hadn’t threatened much prior to equalising although Mackay did test Gallacher with a free kick in the 16th minute but the Thistle keeper wasn’t able to prevent MacLean from finding the net with a shot that went through a crowd of players.
If Thistle had had the better of the first half then the second 45 minutes was altogether more even. Paul Gallacher had to make some important saves from Chris Millar and Stevie May; the latter’s pace being a threat throughout the game.
It was, however, far from one way traffic. On the hour mark Kris Doolan did well to gather a Stephen O’Donnell cross into the box but when he turned he found his route to goal blocked by a St Johnstone defender.
There were Thistle appeals for a penalty in the 73rd minute when a Doolan effort struck a defender and the St Johnstone keeper twice saved from Christie Elliott.
Thistle best chance of a winner, however, came with just a shade over ten minutes of the encounter remaining. An excellent Thistle moved ended with Kris Doolan sending a pass from substitute James Craigen wide of target.
St Johnstone though could have snatched a win in the 89th minute. The ball dropped to David Mackay no more than 10 yards out and directly in front of the Thistle goal. He was able though to make decent contact with the ball and his shot fell into the waiting arms of Paul Gallacher.
A share of the points was probably not an unfair reflection of the game; the point keeping Thistle in 7th position in the Premiership league table.
A point from yesterday’s game at McDiarmid Park was anything but a poor result and when [link:HOME] spoke with manager Alan Archibald after the match he felt that a draw was the right result after an evenly contested fixture.
“It’s a very, very difficult place to come; we knew that and I think a draw was a fair enough result; they had chances and we had chances.”
“It was good to get a good, positive result today after the 4-1 defeat against Dundee United. I didn’t think that we played badly in that game but you can’t tell the world that after a 4-1 defeat because it sounds like sour grapes as people don’t think you can play well in a game that you lose 4-1. I thought the performance today was good and I felt that we mixed it up a wee bit today as well; it wasn’t all football. We got our goal from putting the ball down the side. We’ve not had many chances like that this season and it was great that we took one when it came. I felt that Kris Doolan deserved that goal for all the hard work he’s put in both last week and again today. It was still a hard chance to take and he still had a lot to do when we got the opportunity after the slip from their defender.”
The manager agreed with the view that his side had been the better team in the opening half of football.
“We were definitely the better team in the first half and I thought that we dominated the game. That’s kind of been the story with us in the first half this season and we had a couple of chances to go 2-0 up and it would have been a different game if we had managed to get a second goal. St Johnstone changed their shape half way through the first half to counter act us and they got some joy with that and it helped lead up to their goal as well.”
Most Thistle fans would have been surprised to see Paul Gallacher, and not Scott Fox, in the Thistle goal yesterday and the manager explained why.
“Scott picked up an injury half way through a training session on Friday. We thought at the time that he had broken his metatarsal but after being sent away for a x-ray it proved to be severe bruising. We thought that he might be okay but he just wasn’t right to play today.”
Alan went on;
“It was good to be able to call upon Paul Gallacher and that was the reason why we decided to go with essentially two first choice goalkeepers rather than one experienced keeper and another young lad. Paul’s first touch was a shot low down at his right hand post and he had a few saves like that including one from Steven Maclean in the second half that came through a crowd of players. That’s why we brought Paul to the Club. He brings experience, he can step into the team and he provides competition for the goalkeeping position.”
Scott, though not fit to start, did take up a place on the bench but as the manager explained he was a good bit short of full fitness.
“It’s a long story to be honest because Scott was only about 60 or 70% fit but said that he would go on the bench. Our young goalkeeper Marc Waters got injured in a bounce game during the week and he won’t return to training until Monday and clearance hasn’t come through for the young lad from New Zealand, Scott Basalaj, who we’ve just signed.”
Paul’s job in goal was made a little easier but some fine performances from those playing immediately in front of him who were up against a very dangerous, pacey St Johnstone attack.
“We had spoken about that during the week and we had done some work on video as well. We knew that St Johnstone’s front players are very good and our defence had to be on the top of their game today and I thought that they were. There were still a couple of things that we weren’t entirely happy about but overall it was a big improvement.”