Saturday 25th August, 2012 at 8:51pm
Thistle this afternoon recorded their sixth straight victory, their third in the league this season, and climbed to the top of the First Division. There is, obviously, an awful lot of football to be played this season but when asked about managing the expectations of an increasingly optimistic Thistle support manager Jackie McNamara just expressed his delight at having recorded another victory and at having kept the fans happy.
“I’m glad that the fans are happy that things are going well. We want to keep that going; we have a massive game on Tuesday night which is really important to us. We had disappointments last season in the cup competitions and we want to improve upon that this season.”
“I think we are carrying on from pre-season. There is a real hunger among the players to stay in the team. The players that came on during the course of today’s game were all trying to stake a claim for a place in the side and there is a real healthy competition for places in the side at the moment which we didn’t have last season.”
“It was a pleasing result today as that was a game that last season we would probably have drawn. We had plenty of chances during the first half. Scott Fox has made a great save at 1-o but by that time we could have been three or four up. Credit to the boys though they kept going and although we started off the second half a bit sticky the second goal when it came was a big relief to us.”
The manager was happy at the quality of some of the football that his team produced.
“I think that the movement that we showed at the first goal was first class; it started out in the left back area. Paul Paton hit an excellent diagonal ball and it was fantastic cross from young Stuart Bannigan; and Kris Doolan has done really well to get across the face and make contact with it. I think if Chris Erskine had scored that goal not long after that then we would have been talking about that goal for a long time. Again that started in the left back area; we worked the ball well and Stephen O’Donnell did brilliantly to set up Chris Erskine and I would just liked to have seen the ball hit the back of the net at that point.”
“I’m happy with the start that we have made to the season, but it’s like anything we need to keep it going. I told the players that there was no point if beating Falkirk and Dunfermline if we didn’t take the advantage of playing at home today. It was a big test for us today and we came through it well. We had some good passing sequences and I thought that we thoroughly deserved the victory.”
Today’s game was the type of match that Thistle have previously struggled in, a fact that the manager was quick to seize upon.
“I think since I’ve been at the Club, as a player first of all, we’ve struggled against teams that have just come up a division and are part-time. We’ve overcome a couple of these kind of games in the cups and today was the first that we have faced in the league and we overcame that particular barrier well. It’s now just a case of looking forward to Tuesday’s game with Hamilton.”
And the reason for the improvement?
“I think that there are a number of things. The players that we have brought in over the summer have all added to the squad. Hugh Murray has added experience while Steven Lawless fits in well to the style that we play. It is important though that we don’t get carried away; it is just the start of the season.”
Dumbarton manager Alan Adamson was far from despondent at his side’s display.
“I think that’s the best that we’ve played this season. All credit to Thistle; they got the ball down and passed it and I think we tried to do the same. I think it was a good game of football to watch. I’ve told my players to keep their heads up as they’ll not be playing a team as sharp as that every week. There are signs that we are heading in the right direction.”
“At 1-0 we had a couple of chances. You can forget the last 20 minutes as once a team goes 3-0 up it becomes easy to start knocking the ball about; we could do that. For 70 minutes I thought that we competed really well and gave a good account of ourselves. The players gave everything they had and competed well.”
The Dumbarton manager sited one incident in the first half, Scott Fox producing a point blank save top deny Lister a goal, with the score at 1-0 as a turning point.
“It was a good save by the guy which is what he is there for. After the first 15 minutes or so I thought that we settled in well and started to pass the ball well and get forward. Second goal was a bit of a killer. Thistle are a slick team and they pass the ball well and I’ve no doubts that they will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.”