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Match Preview

East Fife v Partick Thistle – 9th February 2019

Still unbeaten in 2019, Gary Caldwell’s Thistle side will go into Saturday’s William Hill Scottish Cup tie with East Fife in buoyant and confident mood. Although a quarter final spot may be the primary reward for victory the desire to maintain the current run of good form is clear among the entire squad and coaching staff.

The Jags manager spoke to as he was finalising preparations for the match on Saturday and explained how important it is for his side to maintain the feel good factor that has arrived at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

“Cup games are always exciting for everyone involved. It’s something a bit different; away from the week-in week-out of the league. In the last round we got a good result and it started the little run of wins we’re on at the moment so we’ll be looking to continue that.

“It feels like we have finally lifted the gloom around the place a little and that is going to be massive moving forward. Progressing in the cup is our main aim for this weekend but a win will do more than just book our spot in the next round, it will continue the momentum we have built and keep the positive feeling we have just now.

“Some people might see this cup game as a distraction from the league but for us, we’re on a run of wins and we want to continue that for as long as possible in whatever competition. Wins breed confidence and you can carry that forward into the games to come.”

Despite his side getting another draw against a lower league club Caldwell knows that the Fifers shouldn’t be underestimated.

“East Fife have already beaten Championship sides, including us, on multiple occasions and were only beaten by St Johnstone on penalties so they’ll fully believe they can win – especially given they are the home side.

“We treated Stranraer with the right amount of respect and we will do the exact same for East Fife. If anything you do more preparation work for these kinds of games because there is an additional element of the unknown for teams from outside your own league. We’ve watched as much footage as we have been able to get though so we have a good idea of how they will play. They are a good side who will be fighting for everything during the game and we need to be ready.”

Thistle travel to the Bayview Stadium with three consecutive wins under their belt in all competitions for the first time since July and Caldwell is only too aware of the positives this will bring.

“You can see in the results that we’ve improved in recent weeks. The squad as a whole are performing to a higher standard and we’ve got competition within that squad for places. When you can bring guys like Kris Doolan and Gary Harkins off the bench, it shows that there’s a good unit in place.

“On top of that, the guys who do miss out have the right attitude. They understand that it’s not just 11 players and are willing to work hard whenever they get on to keep pushing us in the right direction.”

Finally the Gaffer offered an injury update, focusing on Joe Cardle’s continued recovery from a hamstring injury picked up against Queen of the South.

“Joe’s slowly getting better. He’s been getting a balance of work and rest that you need when you’re coming back from an injury like his. We’ll hopefully have him running next week and then training the week after that. It’s really important that we don’t rush him though as we don’t want a recurrence that could side-line him for longer.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Craig Slater, Miles Storey and Jags gaffer, Gary Caldwell, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.

Jagzone members will also be able to watch extended highlights of the game.

Can’t make it to the Locality Bayview Stadium? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday.

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