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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle – 7th May 2016

Thistle travelled to Rugby Park knowing that a win would secure the sides Premiership status for another season. Kilmarnock, meanwhile, were looking to drag the Jags back into the relegation playoff fight with just two games of the season remaining after this clash.

Manager Alan Archibald made two changes from the side which lost disasterously to Inverness last week with injury forcing him to reshuffle his defence. Callum Booth dropped out of the squad, allowing Mustapha Dumbuya to move to left back. Gary Miller came into the side at right back while Frederic Frans partnered Dan Seaborne in defence, with Liam Lindsay struggling to shake off a knock.

Kilmarnock started the game brightly forcing a succession of early throw ins, putting the Jags rear-guard on the back foot. Miles Addison was proving a danger and he was the target for Josh Magennis’ long throws. Scully had to be alert to instinctively tip the ball around for a corner.

As news filtered through of Hamilton taking the lead in Dundee, Kilmarnock came close to opening the scoring when Kiltie fired an effort just over Scully’s bar.

Thistle had their first chance on goal after 15 minutes, Dumbuya’s cross was met by David Amoo who couldn’t get any power in his header, allowing Jamie MacDonald to comfortably collect. Amoo was hurt in the process and his game was brought to an early conclusion with Christie Elliott summoned to replace him.

Josh Magennis was next to test Scully in the Jags goal tipping the ball around the post from the edge of the box. The game picked up a frantic pace and with just over half an hour played, Thistle took the lead.

Thistle won a corner, which was partially cleared to Abdul Osman. He was able to slip the ball to Steven Lawless, who cut inside onto his favoured left foot before drilling a low effort powerfully past MacDonald in the Kilmarnock goal. It was a powerful effort and left the goalkeeper with no chance to save.

Kris Boyd has been a menace for Thistle in the past and he tried to drag Killie level just before half time, but his cut back, intended for Magennis was deflected behind for a corner by Seaborne. It was Magennis who had the last effort with a swerving effort from the corner of the box, but it was high and wide of goal.

The results at half time meant Kilmarnock would be consigned to the playoffs if it stayed the same, so it was no surprise that Kilmarnock came out straight from kick off to grab an equaliser. Magennis teed up Kris Boyd on the edge of the box but his effort was tame and cleared the ball by a number of feet.

Thistle were defending excellently to restrict the efforts on goal that Ryan Scully had to contend with. Kilmarnock were presented with an excellent opportunity to level on the hour mark when they won a free kick on the very edge of the Thistle box, but Kris Boyd could only smash his effort into the Jags defensive wall.

With 25 minutes remaining, Thistle all but sealed the game through a goal from talisman Kris Doolan. Ryan Scully’s kick out was headed on by Abdul Osman, missed by Addison, presenting Kris Doolan with a run through on goal. With Balatoni coming over to try and challenge the striker, Doolan fired an effort into the turf and beyond the helpless MacDonald.

The noise coming from the Thistle support was ramped up by a few decibels with that crucial goal but Kilmarnock still posed a danger, introducing former Jag Kallum Higginbotham to the action.

He sent over a succession of deliveries from corner kicks, but Ryan Scully and his defence were able to repel all crosses and clear away for another attack.

A Kilmarnock goal would have renewed the belief of the home side, while also sending the tension factor for the Jags support. Kris Boyd was able to get away from Seaborne inside the six yard box, but couldn’t fire his effort on target.

Kallum Higginbotham had the final Kilmarnock effort, his shot getting deflected beyond the reach of Scully, but Gary Miller was swiftly across to clear off the line.

Thistle saw out the final moments in relative comfort winning corner after corner. In stoppage time, Thistle nearly put the shine on a tremendous victory when Sean Welsh smashed an effort off the cross bar. Kevin Nisbet’s rebound header appeared goal bound until a Kilmarnock player cleared off the line.

Referee Andrew Dallas blew the full time whistle and the players were able to take a richly deserved applause from the large Thistle backing that travelled to Rugby Park. Thistle will spend a fourth consecutive season in the Premiership, a feat not achieved since the 1990s.

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