Saturday 3rd May, 2014 at 2:54pm
It was déjà vu for Alan Archibald as his team once again lost a goal in the closing minutes of the game at Easter Road and missed out on what would have been a massive three points. Despite playing well, and developing several promising breaks on the counter during the second half, Thistle were unable to score that vital second goal to kill off the tie. While obviously disappointed not to have taken all three points against a 10 man Hibs Archibald recognised that there were positives to be taken from the game:
“As the away side your main concern is obviously not to lose the game but being one up with so little time left on the clock we’ve really got to be looking to win it here and, to come away with a point, really feels like a defeat today. There was a point at the end of the first half where Erskine was through on goal and I think from there we should be looking to go two up and kill off the tie but it wasn’t to be and they’ve nicked one in the last couple of minutes which is a real blow.
“We told the boys at half time that they would throw everything at us which they absolutely did. We thought we would be able to use our pace and nick something on the counter attack and we did create chances but we just weren’t clinical enough and a bit careless with the final pass. It’s frustrating in the end, we know Hibs are the home team and they’re fighting for their lives just like we are but, at the end of the day, we have to be defending better and seeing games out.”
Thistle’s in form keeper, Paul Gallacher, pulled off a string of world class saves in both halves which didn’t go unnoticed by his manager.
“I thought Gal was fantastic today, Hibs are very good at set pieces and they throw everything on top of you but he did incredibly well with everything they threw at us, particularly in the first half. He deserved to have a shut out today and I feel that some of the other players on the pitch should have reacted better in the build up to the goal – especially considering they were down to 10 men.
“Having said that, I thought our midfielders were outstanding today. Gary Fraser, Bannigan and Craigen covered every blade of grass and their energy levels were absolutely fantastic. Prince missed out due to injury today but they covered very well in the centre of the park and gave us a very powerful engine to drive forward with.”
Archie once again faces a selection headache going into the game against Hearts on Wednesday with both Doolan and Mair being subbed before half time with injuries. It’s going to be an anxious wait to see if either will be available for the midweek trip back through to Edinburgh.
“We’ll know more come Monday, thankfully with Doolan it doesn’t look like he’s dislocated or fractured anything and I think he’s just landed on it awkwardly after he’s scored the goal so hopefully he’ll be ok for Hearts. Lee has just caught a sore one on his knee in a challenge after a corner so we’ll have to wait and see.”
It isn’t all negative and Alan recognises that a point at Easter Road at any other point in the season would normally be a good result.
“The main thing is we haven’t lost it today. It’s still a positive result, not as positive as it might have been, but we can go into the Hearts game with confidence and hopefully get the three points that will see us safe before the last game of the season.”