Saturday 16th January, 2016 at 2:46pm
Thistle hosted their first game of 2016 against a Dundee side which had been idle for the previous couple of weeks after several postponements. Thistle, meanwhile, were looking to use last week’s Scottish Cup success over St Mirren as a springboard to push on for another run of unbeaten league form. With snow falling all morning, Thistle’s groundsmen worked extremely hard in the build up to the game to make sure the pitch was clear of snow prior to kick off.
Manager Alan Archibald made two changes to that successful cup team with Mustapha Dumbuya coming into the defence with Gary Miller dropping to the substitute’s bench. There was also a change in midfield with Abdul Osman suspended giving another chance for David Wilson to stake a claim in the Thistle starting line-up. Christie Elliott, who has missed all of the competitive actions so far, was fit enough to start on the bench.
Both sides took a few minutes to settle into the wintry, heavy conditions but Dundee adapted quickest and were soon to show their domination. Kevin Holt sent a long ball down the left hand side which Harkins looped high into the air. As Lindsay waited for the ball to drop for him, the midfielder was able to nick it away from the young defender and headed towards the box. With Lindsay bamboozled by the trickery of Harkins, he tripped the Dundee player to give the visiting side an early penalty. Kane Hemmings made no mistake from the penalty spot with a confident powerful strike.
A one goal deficit soon became two. Greg Stewart swung over a delivery from 40 yards, from a free kick, Cerny came to collect the ball around 12 yards out but was blocked off by his own defenders. The ball dropped neatly for Harkins to sidefoot into the back of the net and Dundee had a two goal cushion.
With barely 15 minutes on the clock it was 3-0 to Dundee. Lawless lost the ball inside the Dundee half before Harkins received the pass inside the Jags half. He spread the ball wide to Stewart who had all sorts of space and time to advance into the Thistle penalty area and curl the ball beyond the helpless Cerny.
Dundee sensed that they were able to carve Thistle open at will and should have probably notched a fourth only for Paul McGowan to be denied by a tremendous clawed save by Tomas Cerny. Seconds later, Kane Hemmings smashed an effort off the post as Thistle faced the very real prospect of being on the wrong end of a heavy home defeat.
With the half reaching the half way stage, Thistle managed to find a way back into the game with a goal that raised hope the great comeback was on. Bannigan had a corner cleared back to him and he delivered a terrific left footed cross, which was flicked on by Liam Lindsay and David Amoo was able to nod home from six yards out to give Thistle some hope.
Thistle were being roared on by an optimistic home support but with the snow getting heavier, it made conditions extremely tricky for both sets of players. Dundee, with their two goal advantage, were happy to allow Thistle the opportunity to have the ball in areas of the park where they didn’t threaten Scott Bain’s goal and kept them at arm’s length.
There was to be a fifth goal in the half but disappointingly for Thistle it came for Dundee. Harkins was left in acres of space on the edge of the box and he curled an excellent effort into the top corner.
The snow relented slightly in a second half that was pretty tame in comparison to the first.
Dundee still looked dangerous on the break and when Hemmings looked to have beaten Lindsay for pace, the young defender went into the book for the challenge.
Thistle threatened Scott Bain through long range efforts for the majority of the second half, with neither goalkeeper really being tested during the second half.
With 15 minutes to go, Liam Lindsay bundled over Greg Stewart on the edge of the Thistle penalty area with referee Euan Anderson issuing the defender with his second yellow card of the game. Harkins sent the resulting free kick inches over the bar, while McGowan hit the outside of Cerny’s post with the game entering the final stages.
There was one final goal in the game as the clock wound down. Booth went on a mazy run and fired a powerful effort which Bain was unable to hold on to. Doolan reacted quickest to prod the ball home into the net and the scoreline had a bit more respectability surrounding it.
Thistle start 2016 with consecutive defeats and sit above the relegation play off slot by virtue of goal difference.