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Match Preview

Hamilton Accies v Partick Thistle – 16th November 2012

Last weekend Thistle moved back to the top of the First Division with an excellent 5-1 win over the erstwhile leaders, Dunfermline Athletic.
With our fixture this weekend moved to the Friday evening we have the opportunity, temporarily at least, of opening up a six point gap at the top of the table and that is precisely what manager Jackie McNamara wants to see his side do, commenting to [link:HOME];
“Dunfermline have a tricky fixture on Saturday and we would like them to go into that match having to play catch up rather than have the opportunity to go back to the top of the league.”
While the Thistle fans have been walking on cloud nine since full-time last Saturday the manager hasn’t felt the need to have to try and get his players’ feet back on the ground.
“The players have just gone about their business as normal. There has been a really good tempo to training in the last few days and the players, just like the manager, are really looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We want to keep winning and keep entertaining the fans as that ultimately is what football is all about. If we can show the same type of energy that we did against Dunfermline then we have a chance to do just that.”
A tough game, against a side that won last weekend as well, is in prospect tomorrow night.
“Hamilton hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for us recently and Hamilton will get a lift from their win at Morton last Saturday. We want to take our home form into away games where we perhaps haven’t shown the same degree of fluency. That’s in part been because teams, especially Falkirk, have sat in against us. It will be interesting, therefore, to see how Hamilton set up tomorrow. It would seem they played a 4-5-1 formation at Morton in an attempt to stifle them and it remains to be seen whether they will do the same tomorrow. It’s up to us to combat that if they do and we have the players within the squad to change things if we need to do so.”
Which brings things round nicely to the all important team news.
“Steven Craig misses out through suspension while Sean Welsh is still out. Sean was hoping to be back for Boxing Day but after physio Kenny Crichton took a look at the scan we got, it looks as if he will need to wait for a few weeks after that before making his comeback.”
It’s not all bad news though.
“Stuart Bannigan has trained the last two days and looks absolutely fine. He’s a right wee feisty player and he has been going into tackles just like he always did and he is back in contention tomorrow. He’s back a little earlier than expected and that is down to his desire to get back playing and the work that Kenny Crichton did with him.”
With Scott Fox injured there will be a change in goal tomorrow night but just who will wear the gloves isn’t entirely clear at the moment. Said Jackie;
“I’ll name my team tomorrow. We signed Graeme Smith during the week but we are still waiting for international clearance to come through for him. General Manager Ian Maxwell has been working on getting that sorted out but the fact that Graeme’s last club was in Azerbaijan doesn’t make that task any easier.”
“Scott Fox’s injury has caused us a problem and I spoke to goalkeeping coach Craig Hinchcliffe about what we should do as this is forte. Ryan Scully did well for us when he came into the side last season but this is a different kind of pressure now. It’s important that we have an experienced goalkeeper and Graeme is that. He’s looked good in training, looks a good talker and has a real presence about him.”
“It’s no easy task bringing in a goalkeeper at this stage of the season. We couldn’t get someone from England as cross border emergency loans aren’t allowed. We’ve the Scottish Cup coming up so it needs to be a player where there isn’t an issue surrounding being cup-tied.”
Competition for places is such at the moment that no player is guaranteed a quick fire return to the side after being out either injured or suspended, a fact that Jackie is clearly delighted about.
“We’ve a different kind of squad now from last year and players no longer walk straight back into the team. Look at Alan Archibald. He missed a couple of games with injury and didn’t get back into the team for the Ramsdens Cup Semi-Final. Hugh Murray had been excellent for us but he hasn’t got back into the team since being suspended. Sean Welsh didn’t get straight back in when he was injured earlier in the season. Having this kind of strength in the squad is great. It means there is no case of such and such player being considered so important that they go straight back into the team. It sends out a message that players have to justify their place in the team.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
4              1              0              15           2
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Steven Lawless 9
Chris Erskine 8
Kris Doolan 7
Steven Craig 5
Ross Forbes 3
Stuart Bannigan 2
Aaron Muirhead 2
Sean Welsh 2
Conrad Balatoni 1
Christie Elliott 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Aaron Sinclair 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday November 10th 2012
Partick Thistle 5, Dunfermline Athletic 1
Hamilton Accies Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
2              0              3              6              6
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Ali Crawford 4
Steven May 4
James Keatings 2
Jon Routledge 2
Louis Longridge 1
Darian MacKinnon 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday November 10th 2012
Morton 0, Hamilton Accies 1
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday September 1st 2012
Partick Thistle 4, Hamilton Accies 0
Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Bannigan, Paton, Muirhead, Archibald (Balatoni), Lawless, Welsh, Doolan (Craig), Murray, Erskine (Elliott).
Hamilton: Cuthbert, Gordon, Hendrie, Fisher (Gillespie), Kilday, Routledge (Ryan), Longridge, May, McShane (Keatings), Neil, Crawford.
Thistle: Welsh (41), Craig (56, 86), Lawless (65)
Crowd: 2,603
Match Highlights

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Friday November 16th 2012
Hamilton Accies v Partick Thistle
Kick-off: 7:45pm
Adults £16
Concessions (over 65s, under 18) £8
Directions and Travel Details
Supporters Bus Information
Match Officials
Referee: Stephen Finnie
Assistant Referees: Michael Banks and Colin McAlpine
Saturday’s Fixtures
First Division
Dumbarton v Morton
Livingston v Falkirk
Raith Rovers v Dumbarton
Cowdenbeath v Airdrie United

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