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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle – 28th November 2015

Thistle travelled to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock high in confidence after last week’s last gasp win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Alan Archibald’s side knew that vitory over the Ayrshire side would allow the club to jump over the hosts into 9th spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

There were difficult conditions to contend with at Rugby Park with a driving rain and a swirling wind causing no lack of disruption to the teams, as conditions worsened as the first half moved on. Alan Archibald made two changes to the side which had defeated Inverness, with Stuart Bannigan returning to the heart of the midfield with Sean Welsh dropping to the bench. David Amoo was also dropped to the bench with Robbie Muirhead restored to the starting line-up against his former side after making an impact in the late stages of last weekend’s game.

Thistle started the game in a positive fashion but Kilmarnock had the opening chance, when Balatoni skied a low corner from Higginbotham high over the crossbar.  Thistle were keen to make a quick start and after six minutes had the lead.

A lovely scooped pass from Osman found Lawless on the touchline and he managed to work his way into space just outside the penalty area. He found Doolan with a lovely threaded pass and, despite appeals from offside by the home side, he was able to calmly slot the ball beyond McDonald in the Kilmarnock goal.

Kilmarnock tried to get back into the game, with Steven Smith dragging a shot wide of goal with only Scully to beat but Thistle were rampant in their attacking ascendancy and soon doubled the lead.

Steven Lawless was fouled as he cut inside from the left hand touchline. Gary Fraser whipped over a fantastic free kick which Doolan headed in at the backpost having evaded all markers inside the six yard box. Thistle were caught napping from the resulting kick off and Kiltie fired a shot just wide of goal as Kilmarnock sought their way back into the game.

They did get a lifeline when Magennis was able to volley home on the turn, having escaped the clutches of Liam Lindsay inside the Thistle penalty area.

As the conditions worsened Kilmarnock took control of the game, firmly pressing themselves on the ball and causing Thistle no end of bother, with a series of long ball to Magennis, with Higginbotham and Kiltie trying to pick up the scraps inside the Thistle half. Ryan Scully, in the Thistle goal, went into the half time interval without having made a save of note, but having plucked the ball out of his goal.

Kilmarnock came out with determination and vigour at the start of the second half and Magennis was looking the main threat to drag the Ayrshire side level. On two occasions Thistle had to be alert to the danger the striker posed as he seemed destined to bring the Rugby Park side level. It was, however, at the other end where the games fourth goal came.

Robbie Muirhead fired a low cross into the box which found Fraser at the back post. He took a touch to compose himself before rifling the ball into the back of the unguarded net from close range. Thistle were passing the ball about with confidence and Fraser had another opportunity to trouble the scoresheet but took too long on the ball allowing the Kilmarnock defence to crowd the midfielder out.

Kris Doolan was on the verge of a hat-trick and almost had it when he got the ball deep inside the box. He elected to, unselfishly, square the ball to Lawless but the pass was overhit for the midfielder. The ball was retrieved with Doolan firing a shot straight into the arms of Jamie MacDonald.

Thistle did grab a fourth two minutes later, and what a goal it was. Robbie Muirhead picked the ball up 35 yards from goal, took two touches to drive into the centre of the pitch which flew past MacDonald into the top corner to mark his first Thistle goal.

Kilmarnock dragged a goal back when Connolly looped a header over Scully from a free kick before Robbie Muirhead added another excellent goal to his collection when a Booth cross found its way to him at the back post.

Liam Lindsay had an opportunity to add a sixth when his header from a corner kick crashed off the base of the Kilmarnock post but there was to be no further scoring as Thistle played out the game to a succession of ole’s from the 717 Thistle fans at the game.

Thistle started November in 11th place and will finish it in, at least, 9th place having picked up seven points from three games in what is a key run of matches for the side. Next up is another crucial game against Motherwell at Firhill next Saturday.

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