Friday 9th November, 2018 at 5:23pm
With Inverness coming to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill it will be only Gary Caldwell’s second outing in front of a home crowd as Jags boss. Despite a very disappointing performance and result against Greenock Morton last Saturday the Jags gaffer is pleased to be back in Maryhill and is already looking forward to being back in the home dugout. Speaking exclusively to ptfc.co.uk, Gary took us through what has been a challenging week.
“We’re definitely looking forward to getting back in front of our home fans this week. We’ve had a really good week and have spent time going over what was an unacceptable performance and result in Greenock. We’re looking to kick start our season and all the work this week has been focused on getting that when we take on Inverness this Saturday.
“Too often we have left the good work we have done during the week on the training pitch and not taken it into the games on a Saturday and that is probably my biggest frustration since taking over the side. Everything we do during the week is designed to build towards a Saturday and we should be taking that with us into games whether we’re at home or away. It’s fair to say we haven’t so far and, as I say, that is something we need to put right.
“I feel like I speak every week about how good the training has been over the last five days and I would forgive people for thinking I was just saying what I thought they wanted to hear, but that isn’t the case. The standards we set Monday to Friday are very high and the players have been excellent to work with from the first time I stepped onto the training pitch with them. The challenge now is to take those standards into a Saturday because, at the moment, the performances on matchday simply aren’t up to standard and don’t reflect the work we put in during the week.
“This will be my second match in charge of Thistle at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill and for all the result wasn’t what we wanted against Ayr United the experience of being in that dugout with such a fantastic support was an experience I will never forget and look forward to repeating today.”
Although Caldwell is still in search of his first win as Thistle manager he remains positive about his approach to the game.
“I have a clear vision of how I want this team to play and what that identity should be. It’s based on a strong defensive base that gives us a platform to play attractive attacking football. We challenge the players every day to build that identity and work on the areas of our game that must improve. All of these things are important and must come together on a Saturday if we want to start moving up the table.”
With a few players absent through injury at Cappielow, the manager gave an update on those who are struggling for Inverness.
“Doolan has come back into training on Thursday and has done a bit of work with us but we’ll need to assess him again for Saturday. Likewise Erskine picked up a niggle during the week but has trained since so again we’ll need to assess him ahead of Saturday. Andréa also missed out last week with a calf strain and it is unlikely that he will feature this weekend either, he has done some additional work with the physios but probably isn’t quite there yet in terms of overall fitness.
“Unfortunately there has been a development on the longer term injury front with Souleymane Coulibaly who will probably have to go for surgery on a knee problem next week. We’re hoping it won’t be too serious and he’ll be back training with us around the New Year but we won’t know for certain until the surgeon has been in and had a look.”
Saturday aside there have been some encouraging signs from the Jags despite the much sought after victory remaining illusive but he is completely clear on what is required from his players.
“This league is unforgiving and we must cut out the mistakes. Saturday aside we have played well in spells and there is definitely plenty of quality in this side but while controlling games is good, being the better team is good, having more possession is good, none of those things win games. None of those things get three points on the board. There is a recognition of what is required from all parties though – the players, the staff, everyone – and hopefully supporters will see that tomorrow.”
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