Saturday 9th November, 2013 at 2:23pm
When [link:HOME] spoke to Alan Archibald after yesterday’s game with St Mirren we suggested to him that it had been another deeply frustrating 90 minutes and was quick to agree with that assessment.
“It certainly was. We knocked the ball about well and we kept possession. St Mirren came and sat off us and allowed us to play. What the difference was that they got their goal.”
“It was a disappointing goal to lose. It was a set play and that has been a problem for us all season. We’ve not kept a clean sheet since the Dundee United game and we changed things about today for that reason but we couldn’t keep a clean sheet and that’s why we lost the match. It’s certainly something that is causing us concern because if we can’t keep a clean sheet then we aren’t going to win a game. And it’s simple things like set plays that are letting us down. I said to them last week that they have a job to do and they aren’t doing it. It’s these simple things that you need to do if you are to win games.”
The first goal yesterday, as it so often does, proved to be hugely important. Said Alan;
“I think the first goal is vitally important in any league but especially the higher you go up the leagues. It changes games. You saw today that their goal changed them and they looked dangerous on the break or any time they got a set play.”
On a more positive note the manager was pleased with the performance of Kallum Higginbotham who collected the sponsor’s Man of the Match award.
“I thought Steven Lawless came in and did well as well. In the first half I thought he and Kallum linked up really well. All that was missing was the goal for Kallum.”
With the score still just 1-0 the decision not to give Thistle a penalty for an apparent handball midway through the second half proved pivotal and the Thistle manager was in little doubt that his team had been denied a clear penalty.
“I thought at the time that it was a stonewall penalty and I’ve seen it again and the boy moves his arm to block it. The referee is only 15 yards away and I’ve no idea why he hasn’t given a penalty; it beggars belief. We’ve not had many breaks this season but they say that it evens itself out over the season and we have to hope that it will. More importantly though we have to keep working hard and keep on doing what we’re doing in the first quarter of the season and start to pick up points in the second quarter.”
The ordering off a short time later of Stephen O’Donnell for a second booking certainly didn’t help the Thistle cause any.
“He probably was foolish to make that challenge but some referees for some reason seem to give bookings very easily, even when it is quite soft, because he is breaking away on the halfway line. There were worse fouls than that in the game though that went without being cautioned. It’s a learning curve for Stephen and hopefully he will learn from it.”
Thistle had already made some defensive changes prior to O’Donnell’s dismissal with Isaac Osbourne dropping into the centre of defence and Alan was pleased with his performance in that role.
“He does well where ever he plays; he is just a good professional and works really hard. He is a delight to work with and he acquitted himself really well there. We made the change and moved him to centre half just so we could get more attacking players on the pitch.”
Although we have to wait almost a fortnight for our next game the hard work starts again on Monday morning.
“It’s a sore one to go into the international break on the back of a defeat but the hard work continues on Monday morning. The players will be back in and we will be working hard to turn this around.”