Tuesday 26th February, 2019 at 10:00am
The Partick Thistle first team won’t have too much time to stew on Saturday’s defeat to Ross County as they are already deep into preparation for Tuesday night’s match against Dunfermline. In truth most of the squad will be happy to get back on the pitch and prove that the second half against County was nothing more than a blip in an otherwise outstanding 2019.
As his players left the training pitch on Monday afternoon, Thistle boss, Gary Caldwell, spoke exclusively to ptfc.co.uk to discuss the trip to East End Park.
“The performance in the second half on Saturday was nowhere near good enough. It was way off the standards we have set for ourselves since the New Year and the players know that it must be much, much better.
“Tuesday night’s match gives us a chance to get straight back out onto the pitch and offers us the opportunity to put right some of the wrongs from Saturday. Ahead of the County game I spoke about how a good run lifts everyone at the football Club from the office staff to the kit men, well a defeat like Saturday hurts everyone in exactly the same way so we are all looking to bounce back as soon as possible.”
With the games coming thick and fast just now, physical and mental recovery is a massive part of the players’ schedule and something that is vitally important if Caldwell is going to have a fit squad to choose from.
“Recovery is absolutely crucial after every game but especially when there is a run of games like we have just now. The recovery process starts straight after the last game with everything that the players eat and drink being monitored and managed. Sleep is really the biggest element of the physical recovery process though and can go a long way to bringing the players back mentally as well.
“The boys were then in on Sunday for a recovery session in the gym and the pool, the players who didn’t play as many minutes were obviously doing a bit more. We spoke over the game on Sunday and then had a light session on Monday where we worked on our shape and touched on a few tactical points as we would usually ahead of a Saturday game.
“It’s always a challenge fitting in the usual pre-match preparation when you have midweek fixtures but our players are good, hard working professionals and they’ve responded really well to Saturday’s disappointment. We feel well prepared and ready for the challenge Dunfermline will bring on Tuesday night.”
There were some enforced substitutions on Saturday as a couple of Thistle player seemed to be affected by injury and the news is mixed ahead of the midweek clash.
“We certainly have a few niggles which is a bit of a concern. Miles Storey and Joe Cardle will probably miss Tuesday night and will be more likely targeting Hearts or Dundee United for a return. Bannigan took a knock on Saturday and he is 50/50 just now but we will give him all the time he needs to be fit as he is a big player for us. Penrice and Elliott are both nursing minor issues but they’re both good strong characters who will be desperate to play so we’re hopeful both will be available come kick off.
“Longer term we have some good news around a couple of players who have been out for a while. Tam O’Ware is back running and has been out on the training pitch working with the physio which is great to see. Another major boost is the return of Shea Gordon who has been out with a complex injury for a number of months now but has returned to full training in the last couple of weeks. He will be in the squad for Tuesday and that will be a massive lift.”
Looking forward to taking on the Pars Caldwell was clear that the side’s approach wouldn’t change but they would take some key lessons into the tie.
“Starting games is always what we aim for but we need to keep that intensity up for the full 90 minutes. We don’t look at other teams results, we just focus on our own and we need to keep that approach within games as well. It doesn’t matter what the score is or how well we are playing we can’t ease off or lower our standards because in this league we will get punished.
“We will use Saturday’s result as added motivation to drive us forward. Our focus is entirely on winning our games and a win on Tuesday gives us the chance to leapfrog Alloa and Falkirk again. We will just focus on ourselves though and make sure we get the business done.”
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