Sunday 8th July, 2018 at 7:25pm
With pre-season quickly coming to an end, it’s the final days of preparation ahead of the new campaign for Alan Archibald and his squad. Today, Partick Thistle played their last pre-season friendly as they took on Hearts at Central Park.
It was a mix of familiar faces and new signings in the starting line-up for Thistle with five summer acquisitions starting. Aaron Lennox started between the sticks with Cammy Bell nursing a slight knock. He was behind a back four of James Penrice, Sean McGinty, Tam O’Ware and a trialist. In midfield, Craig Slater and Stuart Bannigan provided a base with Blair Spittal, Chris Erskine and Jack Storer forming an attacking midfield trio. Kris Doolan was the lone striker.
Things started dreadfully for the Maryhill men as they fell behind within three minutes. A cross from Ben Garuccio was badly miscued and that played into the Hearts man’s favour. His poorly hit delivery looped over Aaron Lennox and into the top corner of the net giving the Jambos and early advantage.
Thistle’s first shot on target of the game came 16 minutes in as the Jags attacked down the left. Having received the ball from Chris Erskine, Blair Spittal fed the ball to the onrushing James Penrice. The full-back then struck an effort towards goal, stinging the palms of the Hearts ‘keeper but failing to beat him.
The men in reds and yellow had another chance to level things just after the half hour mark as Kris Doolan had his first sight of goal. The number nine broke through the Hearts defence and tried a right-footed effort across goal, however, the frontman dragged his shot disappointingly wide with his weaker foot.
The Jags would draw level before the break though, from a free-kick situation. Craig Slater and Jack Storer stood over a set piece to be taken from the left flank and the former delivered the ball into the box. He found Tam O’Ware who, with a deft flick, found the back of the net. A player known for an ability to score from set pieces, Tam will be hoping that is the first of many this season.
Unfortunately, Hearts would retake the lead early in the second half. Eight minutes after the restart, Olly Lee picked up the ball around 25 yards from goal. He then opted to take a dig from range. His effort was excellent and beat Aaron Lennox all ends up as he picked out the top corner.
Tam O’Ware went very close to another equalising goal as he got on the end of a deep Blair Spittal free-kick. Unfortunately for the ex-Morton man, he misjudged the header and missed the target by a distance.
In the second half, a few younger Jags got some minutes with Callum Wilson, Aidan Fitzpatrick and Evan Galasso all getting a run out with Jack Storer, Craig Slater and Chris Erskine being replaced.
As Thistle looked for another leveller, the Jam Tarts were able to grab a third and it was Olly Lee once again. A scramble ensued in the Jags box and it eventually fell to former Luton Town man, Lee. He then shot on goal with a rather scuffed effort finding the far corner.
That’s how the game would finish as Thistle completed their final pre-season game ahead of next Saturday’s Betfred Cup opener.
The Jags travel to Stenhousemuir next Saturday for that fixture with kick-off 15:00 from Ochilview.
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