Saturday 30th December, 2017 at 7:57pm
With Partick Thistle sitting bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership at the start of play this afternoon, a clash with fellow strugglers Ross County represented possibly the most important fixture of the season so far. The side’s came into the game level on points with the Staggies only ahead on goal difference. With it being the final game of 2017, if either team did end up losing the match, they would have three long weeks to dwell on it during the Winter break.
In the end, it would be the Highlanders sent home in bottom spot as the Jags made it five wins from their last six home games. Kris Doolan capitalised on Andrew Davies’ mistake in the 35th minute before skipping past Scott Fox and slotting home to give Thistle the lead Then the Jags’ two substitutes, Conor Sammon and Andrew McCarthy linked up in the 86th minute with Sammon curling a low shot home after cutting onto his right foot. A massive victory which puts Thistle three points above twelfth and just six off the top six going into a three week break. Jags boss, Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the game.
Alan began by giving us his view of a very successful 90 minutes for his side.
“It’s obviously a terrific result. There wasn’t much in the first half and it takes a mistake for the goal to come but we won’t complain. Getting into half time at 1-0 was a huge boost for us as the first goal is always vital against the teams around you. We’ve done well defensively at home as of late and that continued in the second half. We were very professional and the lads dealt with County’s pressure while still looking a threat on the break.”
As Archie admitted that the opener was a bit of luck from the Thistle perspective, he’s glad Thistle are starting to get these little bits of luck, especially at home.
“The luck has been against us for a lot of the season so far; both on and off the pitch with our injuries. We started with some bad luck with Miles Storey’s muscle problem but we do get the right side of it for the goal. However, we weren’t lucky to win, we defended the lead well and were well worth the three points.”
Thistle’s bench was looking pretty thin coming into the match with injuries continuing to plague the Jags squad, however, there were still two excellent performances coming from the substitutes as Conor Sammon and Andrew McCarthy played key roles in the Thistle win. The gaffer was pleased with the impact of the two players.
“I think Conor was probably a bit disappointed to be dropped after a pretty decent performance at Pittodrie on Wednesday but we wanted to put Miles’ pace up against that County defence. In the end, he comes on within half an hour anyway. Conor is a great professional and he always gives his all so it was great to see it paying off for him. He got us up the pitch and looked a real threat. He took his goal well and he would have had one before that had it not been for a great save.
“Young Andy is beginning to look like a fully-fledged first teamer. We’ve given him a couple of starts against Celtic and Aberdeen and we’re hoping that he’ll now realise that he is an important member of this squad. I think he’s becoming more confident with every appearance and that will only help him going forward.”
Alan then updated us on the personnel situation as we begin the winter break with Thistle next competitive match on the 20th of January in the William Hill Scottish Cup against Queen of the South.
“Our January activities, in terms of transfers, will hinge on how many players we get back from injury. We could be in a position where we don’t have to make any major signings or we could end up looking for three or four players. We’re obviously communicating regularly with Marcin, our physio, to keep tabs on where everyone is on the road to recovery. We’ll have James Penrice back from Livingston for certain which helps us at left back. We also hope to have Callum Booth available for the Scottish Cup game. With those two back it suddenly looks much better in the defence. Mustapha Dumbuya and Abdul Osman have been training in the last week so we’ll be looking to have them back too. The amount of players we’ve had missing so far this season has been ridiculous and I can’t wait to have more of these guys in and around the team. We will still be looking at possible transfer targets, of course, as we can’t take returning players for granted because they won’t be match fit straight away and could pick up subsequent injuries after their returns.”
As Archie mentioned, his squad now have a lengthy break to use before a return to competitive action. The winter break will give his side a chance to recuperate from a hectic December and welcome a few injured players back into the squad. The Jags next game comes in cup competition as they face Queen of the South at Palmerston Park in the William Hill Scottish Cup. Kick-off is 15:00 from Dumfries.
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