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Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Queen of the South – 26th January 2019

Partick Thistle picked up their first league win of 2019 as they overcame Queen of the South at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill this afternoon. The Jags took the lead in the first half through Joe Cardle after a terrific passage of play with Blair Spittal’s cross finding the winger before Cardle stabbed home from close range. The Maryhill men doubled the advantage on 54 minutes as Blair Spittal once again provided an excellent delivery this time for Miles Storey who, with the help of a couple of Queens defenders, bundled the ball home.

The travelling Doonhamers found a way back into the game as Andy McCarthy was penalised for a shove on Andrew Stirling, leading to a penalty for the Palmerston Park side. Stephen Dobbie converted, making for a slightly nervy finish but, nevertheless, the Jags held out for a 2-1 win which lifts them off the foot of the Championship table. Thistle boss, Gary Caldwell, spoke to following the fixture’s end:

“I think the game as a whole was more comfortable for us than the last 15 minutes and the scoreline probably suggest but it’s another win for us which keeps our good start to the year going and it’s important now that we continue to build on that going forward.”

The gaffer says that although other results were favourable for his side today, the Jags were only ever focused on themselves and securing the win in Maryhill.

“We’re not naïve; we understand our league position but we can’t think about that. If the other games go our way then good but we can’t rely on it. We can only control our own results and if we can continue to perform like we did today then we’re giving ourselves a great chance of climbing that table.

“We’ve spoken about that in training and I was delighted with the way the guys played. In terms of commitment, it was top class. There was so much work being put in and everyone was doing everything they could to secure a deserved three points.”

It’s now six goals in two games for the men in red and yellow and Caldwell is very pleased with the attacking efforts of the team.

“We have some incredible talent in our attack and we’re finally starting to show it. I think having a more solid base in terms of the defence definitely helps that but you still have to credit the guys up top.

“Blair Spittal, Aidan Fitzpatrick and Joe Cardle were particularly impressive I thought and they worked brilliantly between the lines. However, they also tracked back and helped out the defence and you can’t understate the importance of that.”

The manager then gave us an update on Joe Cardle’s fitness after the number 32 was forced off through injury in the first half.

“Fingers crossed that it’s not too bad. It was a problem with his hamstring and there’s obviously some time that he’ll miss but the early signs are that it’s not a very serious one but we’ll need to watch him over the next few days.”

Gary then picked out Steven Saunders for praise with the Jags defence looking a lot more assured since the Scotsman’s arrival from Livingston.

“Steven has been great. He came to the Club and wasn’t fully match fit but he’s grown with every minute he’s played. He is such a composed player who always looks like he has control and I think Jack McMillan enjoyed playing alongside him.

“Jack played very well in his own right, especially since he was being asked to play in an unfamiliar position on his debut against the joint top scorer in the league. He also had that air of composure about him which helped us see out the win under a bit of pressure late on.”

The Jags boss was of course pleased with the three points but knows there’s a lot of work still to be done between now and the season’s end.

“We’re far from done. I’ve been around football long enough to know that one win means nothing if you don’t build on it and now we go on a tough little run of away games during which, we have to be picking up points.

“I’ve been able to bring in players who I feel will improve the squad and I think you can see the effect they’re having. The performances have been there for a few weeks but now we’ve got that league win and it’s time to kick on.”

A more in depth video interview with Gary Caldwell is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Stuart Bannigan and Christie Elliott – log in now to see them.

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