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Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Alloa Athletic – 20th April 2019

It was a return to winning ways for Partick Thistle this afternoon at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill as the Jags came from behind to claim a huge three points against Alloa Athletic. The travelling Wasps hit the front early on through Jack Aitchison as a loose ball fell the youngster’s way after a corner. The Maryhill men fought back though, levelling things two minutes into the second half thanks to Joe Cardle low shot from 20 yards. The comeback was completed in the 66th minute as Scott McDonald bagged his sixth Jags goal, curling a free-kick beyond Neil Parry. The three points moved Thistle off the foot of the table and to within a single point of the two teams above them with a game in hand. Thistle manager, Gary Caldwell, spoke to after the final whistle, beginning by touching on the poor first half showing and what changed during the break to spark the Jags’ fightback:

“It was a disappointing first half. There were some choice words at half time; I changed the shape and made two substitutions. However, the resurgence was all the players doing. First half the players didn’t step up and show bravery but the players second half showed incredible bravery.

“I do hold up my hands for the first half, the formation we had been playing, 3-5-2, had been doing well but first half it just didn’t work. We needed one of the centre backs to step out and I didn’t do my job well enough in explaining that so we had to change it at half time and put that extra man in midfield.

“I said it wasn’t going to be easy to do that at 0-0, it was even more difficult at 1-0 down. I was delighted with the response, delighted with the result but it’s just three points. There are three big games left, starting Tuesday evening and we have to focus on them.”

The gaffer was very happy with the character shown by his side to come from behind against an Alloa side who were playing very defensive football after the opening goal.

“It’s not easy playing in that situation, I’ve been there as a player before, down south with Wigan. I understand it’s difficult. We will learn from today, the resilience and character we have compared to pre-Christmas is incredible and that’s the positive I take from today.”

“Everyone played their part; it was a team effort. Alloa have done excellently this season, especially as of late and to beat them is very pleasing.

“For a part time team they are incredibly fit, play some good stuff and to be in the position they are in, they deserve a great deal of credit. We knew they would keep going until the end and they did just that.”

He was full of praise for the squad in general who gave their all in what was a pivotal game for the Club.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the players since January; the application, the dedication, the character they have shown on more than one occasion now, it’s not a coincidence. They have created a spirit, a togetherness and no matter the way the game is going they always give their all. We have a squad with depth and have substitutes that can come on and make a difference as we saw today.”

Coming out after the break, Joe Cardle fired Thistle level after two minutes of the second 45 and Gary emphasised the importance of that early goal with respect to the game as a whole.

“Straight away, once we got that goal you saw the difference, you saw the forward step in terms of intent. I said that at half time, you either take a forward step or a backward step, and you’ll never win a game taking a backward step. I knew from a minute into the second half we were going to win the match, just because of the way we went out and attacked.”

A more in depth video interview with Gary Caldwell is available now to Jagzone subscribers as well as reaction from James Penrice – log in now to see them.

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