Saturday 12th May, 2018 at 7:30pm
Today, on the final weekend of the Ladbrokes Premiership season, Partick Thistle ensured that they would not be relegated automatically with a victory over Dundee. They came into the game knowing a win would secure the top flight play-off spot ahead of Ross County and a second half goal from Kris Doolan got them that win. The legendary forward came on as a substitute having dropped out of the side from the start but made his impact, slotting low past the Dundee goalkeeper after good work from Steven Lawless, bagging the goal that lifted Thistle off bottom spot at the time. Ultimately, Ross County drew their final game so the win was not required but getting it didn’t hurt at all for the travelling Jags. Thistle boss Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk following a tense 90 minutes.
Archie began by stressing the importance of the win which keeps Thistle alive in their fight for Premiership survival. The Jags were in the top flight’s bottom spot for over an hour this afternoon before Kris Doolan set them on their way to victory.
“It’s a huge win for the club, obviously. Everyone involved with Thistle is both delighted and relieved. Ideally we wouldn’t be in this position but we’re here now and just need to do whatever it takes to survive; today was step one of that. Due to County’s result we didn’t need to win to stay up in the end but it puts us in the right state of mind as we prepare for the play-off games as you wouldn’t want to go into those games off the back of four games without a win.”
The Jags gaffer then went on to praise his set of players for playing their big part in the day’s win as they showed a real determination to keep Thistle away from the automatic drop.
“I think the lads deserve great credit today. They kept their heads screwed on and didn’t panic when things were getting tough. In games like these, it can be easy to get caught up in the importance of the match and let that affect your performance. However, the guys did their jobs well and I thought we played some good stuff at times with only the finish lacking. We knew that Dundee were going to be dangerous on the counter but we limited them to half-chances and efforts from outside the box so overall I’m pleased with the display.”
Alan then singled out a certain player for special praise and, of course, it was Kris Doolan. Thistle’s match winner made it eight consecutive seasons of double figures in Jags colours with his goal today and in the process ensured that his only professional side would not be facing automatic relegation this afternoon.
“You can’t really put Kris Doolan’s importance to this club into words. He’s always there when we need him and we know we can trust him to do the business. He would have been disappointed that he was dropped today but since he’d played the last four games we wanted to give him a bit of a rest knowing we could bring him on if needed. Admittedly, it was a slight gamble but thankfully, it’s paid off for us. Erskine was the other one who dropped out but he was carrying a knock and was at about 60% so he was only going to come on if we were desperate though hopefully he’ll be back to full fitness for the first leg of the play-off.”
The Jags manager then looked forward to the two-legged meeting with Livingston which awaits his side. Thistle travel to the Tony Macaroni Arena on Thursday and then welcome the Lions to Maryhill next Sunday with a spot in next season’s Ladbrokes Premiership up for grabs.
“I’ve been to watch them and of course we played them in the Betfred Cup so we’ll be ready for them. They are a team who like to get the ball forward quickly but they also have good footballers in their side who can cause us problems. They fight for every ball and have a great team spirit. We showed our fight and spirit today but we need that to carry over into these two games.”
As Archie discussed, Thistle’s next game comes on this coming Thursday as Thistle make the journey east to take on Championship runners-up Livingston in Lothian. Kick-off is 19:45 from the Tony Macaroni Arena.
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