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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 12th February 2022

Partick Thistle’s sights were firmly set on a place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals as Dundee United came to Maryhill for a fifth round tie this afternoon.

Narrow victories over Dunfermline and Airdrieonians had earned Thistle their place in the last 16 while Dundee United had reached this point via a 2-1 extra-time win over Kilmarnock.

Ian McCall made two changes to the side which had drawn at Inverness in midweek with Alex Jakubiak making his first start as a Jag in place of Cammy Smith while Stephen Hendrie came in for the suspended Tunji Akinola.

The hosts started the livelier of the two sides and threatened for the first time in the 10th minute. A high ball forward by Lewis Mayo was misjudged by Ross Graham who guided the ball inadvertently into the path of Alex Jakubiak. There was a split second when it looked like the Englishman was in on goal but a great recovery challenge from Calum Butcher denied him a chance to score his first goal at his new club.

Thistle finally turned their positive start into a shot on goal after 19 minutes and unsurprisingly Scott Tiffoney was the man to get it. A diagonal ball from Ross Docherty got the winger into the United box and after jinking onto his right foot, the number seven curled a shot towards goal. In the end, his effort was too central and Benjamin Siegrist was able to touch it over the bar with relative ease.

There was another sight of goal in the 22nd minute for the Maryhill men and this time it was top scorer Brian Graham looking to make the breakthrough. Alex Jakubiak was given the ball near the half-way line and the ex-Watford man charged forward before feeding a pass to Graham to his right. The Thistle frontman collected before turning past Ross Graham and firing a shot goalwards with his left foot, however, Ryan Edwards was across quickly to deflect it away for a corner.

Then, out of pretty much nothing, Thistle were caught cold at the other end. Stephen Hendrie misjudged a lofted ball towards the right side of the United attack and Liam Smith took advantage, bursting into the space on the flank. He then cut the ball back towards the edge of the box where, after a sliced clearance by Robbie Crawford, Ian Harkes was on hand to rifle a half-volley into the far corner of Jamie Sneddon’s goal.

That was the last serious action of the first half but Thistle came out with renewed energy after the break. They weren’t far away from a leveller on 46 minutes when Ross Docherty flicked on a Stephen Hendrie corner, but Brian Graham was not quite able to reach the knock-on.

United were struggling to deal with the pace of Thistle’s play at the beginning of the second period and there was another good chance in the 48th minute. A Stephen Hendrie free-kick was lifted into the middle of the Tangerines’ box and Benjamin Siegrist punched it against the back of Brian Graham’s leg. Unfortunately for the home side, this meant he wasn’t facing the goal and thus couldn’t fire a shot towards the empty goal before the ball was cleared.

Moments later the ball bounced to Kevin Holt after Scott Tiffoney had kept the attack alive and Holt tried to curl a right-footed attempt under the crossbar, however, as he did with Tiffoney’s shot in the first half, Siegrist was able to just help it over the bar with minimal fuss.

Ian McCall’s side continued to pile the pressure on and there was some last-ditch defending needed to deny them an equaliser in the 51st minute. A deflected Tiffoney cross bounced into the path of Brian Graham five yards from goal but Calum Butcher reached a foot in from behind the striker to poke the ball away for a corner.

At long last, the visitors had another chance moments before the hour mark. A Marc McNulty cross made its way to Tony Watt on the left side of the Jags’ box and the former Motherwell man tried to bend a shot into the far corner but put far too much height on his shot which sailed over the bar.

The pace of the game fizzled out a bit as the second half went on and opportunities became more infrequent for the home side. Ross Docherty, who scored the winner in the third round against Dunfermline, had the chance to be the cup hero again with 17 minutes left to play but when the ball fell to him from Ciaran McKenna’s long throw, he shot well over the bar with his left foot from 15 yards.

Suddenly, the hosts seemed to be turning up the heat a bit on Tam Courts’ team and another long throw was causing problems in the 80th minute. This one was flicked on by Ross MacIver and fired towards goal by Cammy Smith but Benjamin Siegrist was down sharply to his left to deny Smith at the near post.

Thistle’s final chance to take the game to extra-time game three minutes into added time and it came from a bit of typical Tiffoney trickery. Stephen Hendrie launched a ball down the left wing for the ex-Morton man to latch onto and latch onto it he did. He then used his incredible footwork to wriggle past Liam Smith and race along the by-line. The Jags had five other bodies in the box but Siegrist was out rapidly to deny Tiffoney the chance to pick any of them out.

So that was how it finished, 1-0 to the Tangerines who booked their place in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals. Thistle now look ahead to a busy upcoming league schedule which begins with a trip to East End Park to play Dunfermline next Friday, 18th February at 7:45pm.

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