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Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Motherwell – 13th December 2017

A poor start to a crucial December month for Partick Thistle was amplified massively by a dreadful 5-1 defeat at the hands of Kilmarnock on Saturday. The loss represented the Jags’ fourth consecutive game without victory and left them four points behind 11th place. However, this evening, as they faced Motherwell, they produced the necessary response. Goals from Blair Spittal, Ryan Edwards and Conor Sammon saw Thistle into the break 3-0 up. There would be a fightback from Motherwell as Bowman and Tanner scored following the interval but the hosts were able to hold on for a 3-2 win that takes them to within a point of Dundee. Thistle boss, Alan Archibald, spoke to following the match.

Archie first told us how relieved he was that his side saw the game out, keeping Motherwell from taking any points as they ramped up the pressure in the second half.

“We’ve seen Motherwell pull themselves back into games before and we knew at half time that they would react. I think we looked like a team who haven’t been winning much in that second half. We were dropping slowly deeper and there was an element of fear in the way we defended but at the end of the day I’m just pleased that we got over the line and got the three points.”

The gaffer spoke very well of Martin Woods who made his first Thistle start tonight. The ex-Barnsley midfielder played excellently at the base of the Jags’ midfield, giving his teammates in the middle of the park more freedom and solidity.

“I think in previous weeks we’ve lost our shape a bit too much during games which has cost us and that’s where Martin made the difference tonight. He was leading the others and filling in when the gaps appeared and that gave us a solid base to build on going forward. He was tired in the second half and had to come off but we have to expect that when he hasn’t started a game in over six months.”

Alan also mentioned Conor Sammon who scored his first Partick Thistle goal tonight, slotting past Russell Griffiths after stealing the ball off the toes of Allan Campbell.

“It’s been a bit stop-start for Conor since he arrived. When the team is losing games we’re going to have to try different shapes and tactics to try to find the right formula but some strikers find form in consistency. Tonight he was a handful, especially in the first half. I thought he ran the channels well and he was rewarded for is efforts; winning the free kick for the opener and getting the third himself.”

Archie was pleased with Blair Spittal tonight as well. Putting in a good performance in an unfamiliar wing-back role and grabbing the opener which represented his third free kick goal of the season.

“We know what Blair is capable of, especially from those set pieces. He started his season on fire and it feels like he’s always involved in the goals we score. His form has probably dipped a little bit along with the rest of the team but he has also had to play in different roles. He always gives his all and the application was great across the board tonight.”

Although his side did hold out for the win, Alan has highlighted set plays as an area to continue work on in training as Motherwell found some success from corners and free kicks.

“There were plenty of positive to take for the defence but we struggled with the set pieces, without a doubt. They have plenty of height and we knew that they would be good from set plays. The delivery was much better when they brought Craig Tanner on at half time and that’s when they started to get the better of us at set pieces. That will be one of the pointers we take from the game.”

Alan and his Thistle side now travel to the City of Discovery to take on Dundee this Saturday with the chance to get off the bottom of the table. Kick-off is 15:00 from Dens Park.

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Conor Sammon and Miles Storey. Log in now to see it as soon as it is available.

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