Friday 8th March, 2019 at 5:17pm
It’s back to Ladbrokes Championship action for Thistle this Saturday as Dundee United travel to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. With a Scottish Cup replay away to Hearts on Tuesday and another huge league game the following Saturday it is certainly a busy period for Gary Caldwell’s side.
With the prospect of getting off the bottom of the table and booking a place in the semi final of the Scottish Cup all in one week there is certainly no shortage of motivation for the Jags players. Gary Caldwell sat down with ptfc.co.uk to look ahead to Saturday’s game but first to reflect on the positives from Monday night’s clash with Hearts.
“I’ve watched the Hearts game back again and my feelings didn’t change much from what I said at the time. We had to defend well for the first 30 minutes of the game but we didn’t allow them many clear chances – they only had three shots on target for the entire game.
“Perhaps we lacked a little composure in the first half and we certainly should have got our foot on the ball more but we really came into it in the second half. For that second 45 minutes I thought we really took the game to Hearts and started to show what we could do. In my opinion we certainly deserved the draw in the end.”
Like Thistle, Dundee United had an extremely busy January and the team that will shape up to face the Arabs on Saturday will likely have a very different look to the team Thistle faced at the turn of the year. That being said, Caldwell is clear that he will give his players as much information on what they will face as he possibly can.
“They have new personnel but they use the same formation and have a very similar style of play. we can take a lot from the game a the start of January, particularly the first half. We played extremely well, particularly up until half time. We were on the front foot and created plenty of chances, all of which came together to get us a well earned point against a very good team.
“We’ve prepared well and have focused on recovering from Monday night. The players are ready and now it’s about getting the energy and focus back going into an absolutely massive game where we have to go and get three points.”
Despite a fantastic run of results at the start of the year two defeats has seen the Jags back at the bottom of the table. However, with just 12 points between fourth and twelfth Caldwell knows that a couple of wins could put an entirely different complexion on things.
“It is the nature of this league, you can see how one or two bad results can affect you but likewise the same applies for good results. One or two wins can have a massive impact on league position.
“It is still in our hands, we need to focus on what we are doing and make sure we get those positive results to pull us away from trouble and try to look up to the higher parts of the league.”
Finally the gaffer gave an update on the injury situation.
“Obviously you saw Joe Cardle and Miles Storey come back into the fold on monday night and they are both available for Saturday. Jack McMillan has also recovered after he picked up a knock on monday night and is ready to be involved.
“Stuart Bannigan and Andy McCarthy are both continuing to work with the physios. They’ll be touch and go for Saturday but should be back in the fold next week.”
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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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