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Match Preview

Assistant Manager’s Preview: Neil Scally – 13th November 2021

Just five weeks on from their last game against Ayr United, Partick Thistle will be taking on the Honest Men once again on Saturday in cinch Championship action. The Jags ran out 4-0 winners against Jim Duffy’s side at Firhill last month with Zak Rudden, Cammy Smith and Brian Graham on the scoresheet. Ayr will be hoping to do better this time round as they seek to reduce the eight point gap that exists between the two sides. Jags assistant manager Neil Scally spoke to ahead of the trip to Ayrshire:

“Somerset Park is a place I know well of course and it’s a very hard place to go and get three points. Inverness drew there last week and Killie needed a last minute goal to win so we know it’s not going to be an easy game.

“There’s a bit of a gap opening up between the top five and the bottom five but Ayr will  see this as a good opportunity to try to close that gap and move closer to the play-offs. For us, we want to continue the good defensive work we’ve been doing recently and hopefully get a couple of goals as well.”

Despite the side’s convincing win the last time they faced this weekend’s opponents, Neil says the team are taking nothing for granted this time round.

“We’ve already seen how unpredictable this league is first hand. We beat Morton and Dunfermline relatively comfortably during the first quarter but they then gave us a really tough game second time round. Likewise we got better results recently against Inverness and Kilmarnock than we did previously so that win last month counts for nothing now and we’ll need to be at our best to get a win again.”

The Jags got back to winning ways last Saturday against Kilmarnock after a string of draws and Scally says the boys are in a good place as they prepare to take on the Honest Men.

“We’re feeling good at the moment. We’re unbeaten in six league games and last week’s result was absolutely massive for us. Beating Kilmarnock means the goalless draws look a little bit better and it really tightened things up at the top of the table with a few other teams drawing.

“We want to continue that though. Everyone knows how important it can be to go on a run in this league and we’ve got the start of a really good run at the moment. If we can keep picking up points, and preferably wins, then we’ll be putting a lot of pressure on the other teams in the top half.”

The basis of Thistle’s recent success has been their defensive solidity but, with Lewis Mayo away on international duty this week, there will have to be a change to the settled backline for the trip to Somerset.

“Lewis and Tunji have been doing really well together so Lewis will be a big miss of course. I thought they were both terrific last weekend and you don’t want to break that up but we’ve got no choice with this game.

“Central defence is one area where we don’t have that many options; we’ve only got two players out injured in the whole squad but they’re both centre-halves! There are still ways for us to deal with it though – Ciaran McKenna and Kevin Holt can both slot into that role so we’ll just have to get on with it.”

Exclusive video interviews with Connor Murray and Thistle assistant manager Alan Archibald will be available for JagZone subscribers to watch today – log in to view.

JagZone subscribers will be able to tune in to live audio commentary for our clash with Ayr United, starting at 2:30pm – click here to tune in.

We’ll have extended highlights and a full game replay of the fixture on JagZone following the game.

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