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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Hibernian v Partick Thistle – 31st March 2018

After a long international break dwelling on a horrible 3-0 defeat to Hearts at Tynecastle, Partick Thistle returned to Ladbrokes Premiership action with another trip to the capital to take on Hibernian. The Jags came into the game stuck in a seven game winless run and with their hosts on good form, they faced a tough test to turn that form around.

Alan Archibald made five alterations to the side he fielded at Tynecastle two weeks ago. Tomas Cerny retained his place in goals behind a much changed defence. The Jags reverted to a five-at-the-back following a string of games with a four-man backline. Adam Barton came in for Chris Erskine, facilitating the change in formation with the number 13 sitting between Baily Cargill and Daniel Devine. Paul McGinn replaced Callum Booth with Christie Elliott moving across the pitch to play at left wing-back.  Martin Woods dropped to the bench with Andrew McCarthy replacing him alongside Abdul Osman. Ryan Edwards came in for Steven Lawless behind the strikers with Miles Storey and Conor Sammon leading the line with the latter coming in for Kris Doolan.

The first chance of the match fell Thistle’s way in the third minute although it may have come to the wrong man. A deep free kick was partially cleared by the Hibs defence, however, it came to Daniel Devine on the edge of the box. The Northern-Irish defender curled an effort on goal but he couldn’t keep it on target, striking over the bar from 25 yards.

The next big chance of the match didn’t come until the 24th minute after the opening 20 minutes of the match had been dominated by the visiting team. The opportunity came for Hibs and it came for a Scott Allan free kick. The ex-Dundee loanee swung the ball in looking for Efe Ambrose and almost found his target. The ball evaded the Thistle defenders and skipped through. Ambrose reached out a leg and was inches away from surely finding the game’s opener but he failed to make contact and the ball bounced into Tomas Cerny’s arms.

Hibs carved out another chance as Dylan McGeouch went close on 33 minutes. The attack started with Baily Cargill losing out around the half-way line with the hosts pushing forward from there. The ball was played square from the right wing intended for Scott Allan but actually went behind the number 23, coming into the path of McGeouch who made a late run from the midfield. The number ten then bent a shot towards goal which forced Tomas Cerny into a terrific save as the ‘keeper denied Hibs the deadlock-breaking goal.

Unfortunately, the save Cerny made injured him on the landing which forced him to be substituted off. The Czech ‘stopper was replaced by Ryan Scully who came on to make his first appearance since September of last year.

There would be no further chances in the first half for either side and the teams went into the interval at 0-0. The Jags had controlled the first 20 minutes with some excellent passing and plenty of fight but Hibs had come back into the game towards the tail end of the first half. Dylan McGeouch’s curled effort was easily the match’s best chance in the opening period but Tomas Cerny’ last action of the game was an important one as he stopped his side from falling behind.

The first notable action of the second period, which Hibernian started well, was Daniel Devine picking up a booking for stopping the hosts from taking a free kick on 55 minutes.

Two minutes after that, Thistle had a massive chance to take the lead. Miles Storey robbed a Hibs man of the ball on the left wing and slotted a low cross into the box. He found Conor Sammon and the striker took a shot on goal from a difficult angle. Cammy Bell came out though and spread himself well, saving the shot before the ball was turned behind for a corner.

Thistle then had another chance on 69 minutes which did find the net, although it was ruled out by the linesman. Ryan Edwards whipped in a right-footed corner which found the head of Baily Cargill who nodded goalward with power. His effort wriggled past Bell and over the line with the defender seemingly scoring his first goal in the Jags’ colours. However, the linesman’s flag went up extremely late and the goal was chalked off because Miles Storey, who was stood in an offside position, was adjudged to have been blocking Cammy Bell’s line of vision. The decision was protested by the Thistle players but the referee trusted his assistant, ruling out the goal.

Less than a minute later, the home side went up the other end and scored, catching Thistle out with quick movement and clinical finishing. Hibs exploited the space on the Thistle left and swiftly netted the opener. After some good play, a low ball came in from the hosts’ right wing, finding Jamie McLaren who made no mistake from close range to give his side the lead in what was a desperately disappointing 60 seconds for the travelling Thistle contingent.

That disappointment was compounded five minutes later when the Hibees grabbed a second. A Scott Allan corner came in as an out-swinger finding Paul Hanlon. The number four then looped an inch-perfect header over Ryan Scully and into the net. The goal took the points further out of the Jags’ grasp, acting as a real sucker punch minutes after the visitors thought they had taken the lead.

Alan Archibald made two changes following the goal to try to bring his side back into the game. Andrew McCarthy was replaced by Blair Spittal while Miles Storey came off for Kris Doolan.

Any faint chances of a comeback were ended in the 85th minute when Daniel Devine was sent off for a second bookable offence. A clumsy challenge by the number 15 earned him another booking which will see him miss Thistle’s next game, against Ross County.

No more chances came for either side and the game ended 2-0. A match that had started extremely brightly for the away side all went downhill from their disallowed goal. Nevertheless, there were many more positives to take from this game than there were two weeks prior against Hearts.

The Jags next fixture comes on Tuesday as they face bottom of the table Ross County in a vital game in this season’s relegation battle. Kick-off is 19:45 from the Global Energy Stadium.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny (Scully, 37′), Cargill, Osman, Barton, Elliott, Devine, McGinn, Sammon, Edwards, McCarthy (Spittal, 76′), Storey (Doolan, 79′).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Booth, Erskine, Lawless, Woods.

HIBERNIAN TEAM: Bell, Hanlon, Bartley (Whittaker, 65′), McGeouch, Stevenson, Boyle, MacLearen (Shaw, 77′), Kamberi, Allan (Swanson, 90′), McGregor Ambrose.

UNUSED SUBS (HIB): Dabrowski, Slivka, Murray, Porteous.

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