Friday 22nd March, 2019 at 11:33am
Friday night sees a return to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill for Partick Thistle as they take on Inverness Caledonian Thistle, live in front of the BBC Scotland cameras. It’s a match that, if the Jags secure all three points, could see them go as high in the league as seventh, with their rivals having to wait until Saturday to play.
However, Thistle gaffer, Gary Caldwell, knows that the most important thing is for his side to take care of their own business against Caley. And, while he acknowledges it was a good performance the last time out against the Highlanders, he knows consistency is key.
Speaking to ptfc.co.uk, Caldwell said:
“We were excellent first half, but they are a different team as well at the minute. The last time we played them they played more or less a flat 4-4-2 and they were a bit more direct. They’ve changed to a 4-2-3-1 and they have loads of players in attacking areas that can find little pockets of space and cause us problems.
“I was at the Dundee United game in the cup where they were excellent so they are a different team to the one we played up there but one which I firmly believe we can beat. We have to focus on our game and how we attack and how we play to go and get those three points.”
“Of course it was disappointing not to take all three points on Saturday but a draw away from home is turned into a good point if you back it up with a win. That’s what we need to do tonight.
“I think consistency is a massive thing in football but it is probably during the games that the consistency has to improve for us. From game to game it’s understandable, it happens, but during games, our levels vary too much. We have to focus on becoming a more consistent team and becoming a more reliable team in possession. If we focus on sticking clearly to the game plan and making that work we will get all three points.”
One of the biggest disappointments from the Falkirk match was the fact the side started so well. The emphasis for Caldwell now is killing games off when his side are dominating.
“Of course it’s massive that you start any game well and we have changed that throughout my time here, we’ve got much better at that. Like i said before, it’s now continuing what you’re doing well and making sure you are ruthless in those moments, to show your dominance on the scoreboard and your dominance in the game. One goal in this league, as we’ve found, isn’t enough. We simply have to make that dominance count on the scoreboard.”
With eight games remaining the Thistle boss knows the magnitude of every game his side have left.
“Every game is big between now and the end of the season for so many different reasons. We understand that, as a group of players, we have to focus on making sure we get the points that we need, first of all to take us out of trouble and then see how the league pans out come the last few games of the season. It’s so tight, there’s so many different things, twists and turns that can happen between now and the end of the season.”
“The league is so tight, three points, or a run of three points, can make such a significant difference. Dunfermline have shown that recently, a team that was drifting towards the bottom of the league suddenly find themselves in fourth, so we have to make sure that we not only win on Friday night but we follow that up with a run of victories that pull us well clear of trouble and we can start looking higher up the table.”
With Steven Anderson and Christie Elliott both being ruled out at late notice last week Jags fans will eagerly awaiting injury news ahead of tonight’s clash.
“Ando is fine, he had a concussion but he trained on Tuesday and he had the all clear from the doctor to do that. Christie trained yesterday and we will see how he is after that. Everyone else is fit and ready to go so it’s good to have a full squad to pick from. It means we have options to try and effect the game in a positive way.”
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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 6:50pm tonight.
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