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Assistant Manager’s Preview: Neil Scally – 4th December 2021

After a successful cup break which saw the Jags beat Dunfermline 1-0 at Firhill, Partick Thistle are back in league action this weekend as they head to Palmerston Park for a third meeting of the season with Queen of the South. The Maryhill men are unbeaten in eight games currently, however, they’re now heading back to the scene of their most recent defeat, a 2-0 loss in the Challenge Cup against Allan Johnston’s Doonhamers. Thistle assistant manager Neil Scally spoke to ahead of the contest:

“This is another big game for us because we want to keep the positive momentum going. We’re in a really good place at the moment but we know that can change in an instant so we have to make sure we keep pushing forward and keep striving to improve each week.

“We’re finding a way to win in tight games and that’s a great habit to get into. It’s maybe not been the best football we’ve played but when we’re winning games and picking up points in the league, that’s something we don’t mind too much.”

Last Friday’s Scottish Cup win over Dunfermline fits into the character of ‘tight games’ and despite there not being too much in it, Scally felt the Jags did deserve their victory.

“It was definitely a tough one for us. You could see Dunfermline were a bit more confident after a couple of wins and the way John Hughes sets them up made it difficult but I think we still looked the more threatening in general.

“I wouldn’t say we were the better team by miles but I think if you look at the big chances in the game, we had the best of them. Tiff hit the post, Cammy and Zak had shots saved and you’re thinking it’s going to be a replay but then Doc pops up with a fantastic goal – I can’t say I’ve seen him do that before and I’ve worked with him for a while!”

The clean sheet against the Pars made it seven in a row for the Firhill side and Scally admitted the manager now has some decisions to make on who starts in the back four this weekend.

“We’ve got a group of six defenders who have all done really well as of late and whoever misses out will be really disappointed but I suppose that’s what you want.

“The boys who were in the back four at the start of the run were doing brilliantly but Ciaran McKenna and Stephen Hendrie have both come in at different points and done well too so now we know we’ve got a group of defenders who we can trust to go out and perform for us.”

Thistle now head to Dumfries for the second time this season as they look to avenge their Challenge Cup defeat to the Doonhamers from early October and Neil is expecting another tough game at Palmerston Park.

“They’re a team who make things very difficult with their pressing. They have a lot of young players with a lot of energy and we’ll probably not get a lot of time to think on the ball. We’ve played them a couple of times at their place recently and it’s usually quite a close game so that’s what we’re anticipating again.”

To finish, Scally gave us the latest team news ahead of the return to cinch Championship action.

“We had Brian Graham, Lewis Mayo and Richard Foster all missing last Friday but I’m pleased to say they’ll all be available again having been back in training this week. As we touched on earlier, that’ll only add to the selection headache the manager will have but the fact he’s got these decisions to make tell us that we’ve got a strong squad of players which we’re delighted with.”

Exclusive video interviews with Tunji Akinola and Thistle assistant manager Neil Scally 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 Queen of the South, 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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