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Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Ayr United – 27th October 2018

It has been a busy week for the players and management staff at Partick Thistle as they focus on Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship match against Ayr United. Gary Caldwell is preparing for his first home match in charge and his excitement was palpable when he spoke to before training on Friday.

“I honestly can’t wait to step out at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill and make my home debut, I can’t wait to see another game and I can’t wait to have the fans backing what we are trying to do.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank every Thistle fan who has wished me well since I first joined, whether that be on social media, from the terraces in Alloa or in person during the week. I have been blown away by the reception and I hope I can start repaying that sooner rather than later.”

Although his first game in charge ultimately ended in defeat the new Jags boss was able to take plenty from his first experience as Thistle manager.

“My immediate reaction to last week’s game was obvious disappointment at the result but I was able to take plenty of positives from the performance as well. As we analysed the performance this week we were able to work on things that we need to improve on to win games.

“We’ve had a bit more contact time with the players this week as things have started to settle down which has been great. You obviously can’t come in and look to change too much at once but we are starting to build relationships with the players and the positive changes will come with that.”

Ayr United have surprised many with their performances this season as they currently sit second in the league. Central to that success has been the form of Lawrence Shankland. While Caldwell is well aware of their strengths and the threats they pose he is clear that it will take a team performance to beat The Honest Men – particularly when it comes to defensive play.

“I think the team has to defend. It doesn’t come down to individual players or certain areas of the pitch, we all need to work hard for it. Ayr will be tough opposition but I always try to focus on the things we can influence and change. That shows in the way we’ve structured the work ahead of Saturday and hopefully that will pay dividends.

“We have had a really good week of training and every player has worked hard – you can see that every day. I knew right from the start that we had quality individuals here but it’s now about bringing that together to form a unit that is hard to beat but capable of playing good attacking football at the same time.

“The boys recovered from last week very well and Tam Scobbie comes back into contention for Saturday having missed out last week. Other than that it should just be the long term injuries that we’re missing which gives us a great group to choose from.”

Caldwell finished with a very clear message about the target for Saturday.

“The focus for Saturday is very simple – three points. We have a good home record and it has been an excellent week of training so there is plenty to be positive about. The one thing I can guarantee is that the players will leave nothing in the tank – they’ll give everything to get the result.

“I’ve been looking forward to this for what feels like a very long time now so hopefully we can get things started with a win.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Stuart Bannigan 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 Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday.

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