Friday 15th March, 2019 at 3:15pm
It was training as usual on Friday as the Thistle players were put through their paces in the final stages of preparation for Saturday’s huge Ladbrokes Championship match against Falkirk. It’s been a busy week for the Jags first team but the stakes don’t get much higher than this Saturday.
It was with this backdrop then that Partick Thistle manager, Gary Caldwell sat down with ptfc.co.uk to discuss how preparations were going and to look forward to Saturday’s contest.
Gary started by addressing the question of just how big Saturday’s match is in the overall contest of Thistle’s season.
“I think every game recently has been important and this is no different. We’ve applied ourselves very well in recent games and we will go into Saturday with great confidence. Having said that we do understand that the position we are in and the position Falkirk are in make it extremely significant in both our seasons.
“Every game from now until the end of the season is a cup final and we have to approach every match in exactly that way. Our attitude for every match between now and the end of the season will be we need to go and win it, nothing will change in that respect.”
With the match against Ayr postponed until April due to Thistle’s William Hill Scottish Cup exploits, the next three matches are Falkirk away, Inverness at home and then Morton at Cappielow. Three games in which the Jags must be targeting three points.
“I completely believe that we are genuinely capable of beating any team in this league and I think we’ve shown that since the turn of the year. I base that on our own performance and not the other team’s. I think if we have that belief and confidence then on any given day we can win if we go out and perform.”
It was heartbreak for Thistle fans on Tuesday as, despite a spirited and determined display at Tynecastle the Jags fell short of the semi final berth they so desperately craved. That being said, Caldwell is adamant that the defeat will do naught but spur his side on.
“We never like to lose games of football but we can definitely take confidence from the two games against Hearts. They should be a top four team in this country and we matched them over 180 minutes. Elements of our performance were the best I’ve seen since I have been at the Club and that is across the team.
“We played with a real spirit and pushed Hearts right to the last minute. On another day we could well have been the ones looking forward to a cup semi final. We have taken confidence from the performances and now we must take that into the league.”
Thistle’s recent form has seen them move two points clear of Alloa at the bottom of the league and a win could see the Maryhill Men move as high as seventh. Despite how tight the league is Caldwell knows the club’s ultimate fate is in his own players’ hands.
“There are several reasons why we are where we are but it is the reality and we need to do something about it. The players have performed very well since the turn of the year and that is reflected in the points return. We need to keep working hard and we need to keep this run going between now and the end of the season.”
Finally, the Jags boss offered an update on the fitness of his group, starting with his side’s overall recovery from Tuesday night.
“Recovery from Tuesday night has been excellent. The players and staff have really bought into the recovery process and recognise how professional we need to be in order to be ready to train and play games in close succession.
“The overall fitness of our group is much improved though and I think that is reflected in the play. That being said, it has been an arduous run of games unfortunately that comes at a cost. In this case that is reflected in the fact we do have a couple of concerns. Both Christie Elliott and Steven Anderson have both picked up small knocks on Tuesday night so we will need to monitor them. They both did some light training today and we will give them every chance to play their part on Saturday.”
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