Saturday 9th July, 2016 at 9:01am
Thistle rounded off their pre-season campaign with a short trip to Cappielow to take on Morton as the build up to the big competitive kick off next Friday evening begins to take focus. After a largely forgettable match against Raith Rovers on Tuesday, manager Alan Archibald was looking for his team to lay down a marker for a starting place against Airdrieonians.
There was a first start of the pre-season for Callum Booth as he completed his recovery from injury and he performed well for the 45 minutes he was on the pitch.
Thistle performed their first ever solo kick off, under the new laws introduced over the season, and got the game underway shooting towards the Wee Dublin End. Thistle’s tempo was noticeably higher than Tuesday night’s straight from kick off and the side, wearing their new all white away kit, came straight out the traps against the Championship side.
Booth was heavily involved in the first opportunity of goal when Lawless flicked the ball in his path. As he rampaged down the wing, his low cross missed the winger but landed at the feet of Amoo who forced a great save from McNeil to win the Jags a corner. After Thistle’s trialist goalkeeper made a tremendous save after 10 minutes, Thistle took the lead.
A deflected cross from David Amoo fell perfectly at the feet of Chris Erskine and he swept home, completely unmarked, from a few yards out. Thistle continued to look menacing with slick attacking play and a very late flag denied Erskine a second goal when he linked up with Lawless. A look at the footage after the game showed this to be an incorrect, but very tight, call by the linesman.
Both sides were trying to play attacking football but Morton weren’t seriously testing the Jags goal. Oliver’s low cross slid across the six yard line but no home player gambled to connect with the ball deep in Jags territory.
With just over 30 minutes played, Thistle doubled their lead and what a goal it was. David Wilson’s defence splitting pass sent Booth away down the left. His cross was met by a flying Erskine who volleyed home powerfully to double the Jags lead.
Azeez was looking lively in attack for Thistle and he showed his pace to close down the home goalkeeper, tackling him as he delayed his clearance with the ball spinning out for a throw in. The powerful striker picked the pocket of a Morton defender and advanced into the box. His shot drilled across goal and was met by Amoo who could only direct the ball off the post, before colliding with the goalframe himself.
With the winger needing medical treatment, Thistle conceded on the stroke of half time. Thistle’s trialist 6 tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick only to find himself robbed. A cut back was cleared off the line by Erskine before Michael Tidser drilled the ball into the net.
The second half wasn’t as action packed as the first with a number of substitutes being utilised during the course of the 45 minutes. Thistle still looked lively in attack but the final ball wasn’t quite good enough on a number of occasions.
On 55 minutes, Morton had a chance to level the game. Devine challenged Oliver for the ball, appearing to win it with a toe. The referee pointed to the spot and ex-jag Ross Forbes was entrusted with spot kick duties. His powerful effort was saved by Thistle’s trialist goalkeeper and justice was, maybe, done.
Thistle continued to attack the Morton goal but there were no real saves for either goalkeeper to make in the remaining 30 minutes. There was introductions for a number of young players as the manager made as many changes as possible in order to get minutes into the legs of as many players as possible.
Thistle began this pre-season schedule with a 6-0 win over Cirencester and conclude it with a 2-1 success over Morton. With nine first team players sitting out on Saturday afternoon, manager Alan Archibald will be hoping a number of them will return to the squad for the first Betfred Cup fixture against Airdrieonians on Friday night.