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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Hearts v Partick Thistle – 5th January 2014

Thistle collected their first win of 2014 collecting a vital three points following a hard working 2-0 win over Hearts.
There was much to be encouraged with in Thistle’s performance in defeat against Celtic and manager Alan Archibald made just one change to the side that performed so well in that match; Steven Lawless getting the nod to start ahead of Christie Elliott who dropped down to the bench.
The game between two sides desperate for points was played at a furious pace with the large travelling support right behind Thistle from the very beginning of the game.
Thistle’s first chance arrived in the 9th minute. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair crossed from the left and although Lawless’ crisply struck volley was on target MacDonald in the Hearts goal saw the ball coming and was well placed to make a comfortable save.
He was, however, picking the ball out of the net just four minutes later. A long clearance from Gabriel Piccolo was flicked on by Kallum Higginbotham leaving Lyle Taylor with just MacDonald to beat. The Hearts keeper was able to partially block Taylor’s effort but that was insufficient to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net.
Hearts almost made an immediate response but as Walker found space inside the Thistle box he was robbed off the ball by a perfectly timed challenge from Aaron Muirhead.
It was largely Thistle though that were doing the bulk of the pressing and a Stephen O’Donnell cross from the right was destined for the head of the waiting Lyle Taylorr only for a Hearts defender to nip in and head the ball clear.
Both James Craigen and Kallum Higginbotham both had long range efforts clear the Hearts crossbar as Thistle sought the comfort of a second goal. That second goal arrived with half-time just five minutes away. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair saw a driven cross from left cleared for a corner kick. From that corner Taylor-Sinclair was able to connect with Higginbotham’s cross and his header found a berth in the bottom corner of the Hearts net.
A third goal would have settled the issue in Thistle’s favour and they started the second half firmly on the front foot and Taylor saw a shot from an angle saved by MacDonald before, after turning well inside the box, the same player saw a shot deflect away from goal.
It was Hearts, however, that did the bulk of the pressing in the second half but they found it difficult to break through a resolute Thistle defence that were in no mood to allow Hearts a way back into the game.
Ryan Stevenson did come close with a header that just crept over the Thistle crossbar and Tapping was within a whisker of hauling Hearts right back into the game in the 59th minute. His shot dipped over Scott Fox but struck the face of the crossbar with Thistle managing to hack the loose ball clear from danger.
That was the closest that Hearts would come to scoring although the pressure on Thistle mounted a little when they were left to play the final 8 minutes with just ten men. Stuart Bannigan collected a yellow card in the 77th minute and he collected a second yellow card just four minutes.
Thistle though were able to negotiate the time that remained without Hearts breaching the Thistle rear guard as Thistle held on for a win that takes them back above Ross County, Thistle’s next opponents, in the league table.

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