Saturday 11th August, 2012 at 8:47pm
The Thistle side to start the league season against Falkirk showed just one change from the side that started against Forfar in the Scottish Communities League Cup. Paul Paton had missed that game through suspension but he returned to the starting eleven for the visit of Falkirk. His inclusion saw Aaron Sinclair drop to the bench, a move that saw Stuart Bannigan move from midfield to a role on the left side of defence.
The start of any season is a time for optimism but the start that Thistle made to this game would have been well beyond the expectations of even the most wildly optimistic Thistle fan. With just 7 minutes on the clock Thistle found themselves two goals ahead.
The first goal arrived in Thistle’s first thrust at the Falkirk goal in the 4th minute. Chris Erskine created a chance for Sean Welsh to cross from the left and his cross was steered into the corner of the net by Steven Lawless making his home debut for the Club.
That opening goal was met with the obvious approval of the Thistle fans and they were in dreamland three minutes later when Kris Doolan doubled his side’s advantage. Doolan largely created the opportunity for himself and he was steered the ball beyond the reach of McGovern and, via the inside of the post, into the corner of the net.
Five minutes later Falkirk were a whisker away from getting themselves right back into the game, and they would have done so as well had Scott Fox not produced an excellent save to keep out Dale Fulton’s shot that looked destined for the corner of the net. Even then the ball broke loose and Fox again had to save, this time to deny Lyle Taylor.
After such a frantic first 15 minutes it was perhaps no great surprise that the game started to settle into a rhythm once even had had the opportunity to draw breath.
Thistle were able to move the ball well across the width of the pitch but weren’t able to truly test McGovern after the Falkirk keeper had been forced to pick the ball out his net twice inside the first ten minutes of the game.
At the other end, the Thistle defence was well marshalled by Aaron Muirhead and Alan Archibald with Falkirk, Dale Fulton’s shot in the 15th minute aside, restricted to one rather tame header from Lyle Taylor after Stephen Kingsley had crossed from the left hand side.
The opening exchanges of the second half were always likely to be important and in the 53rd minute Falkirk were able to haul themselves right back into the game. Lyle Taylor’s first time shot seemed to catch Scott Fox a little by surprise with the result that the ball flew into the back of the net.
Thistle though were able to re-establish their two goal lead in next to no time. Sean Welsh was able to climb above the Falkirk defence to reach a corner from the left. McGovern saved but Kris Doolan was on hand inside the six yard box to poke the ball home.
The action was coming thick and fast at this stage and Thistle only just maintained their two goal advantage on the hour mark when the ball crashed back off Scott Fox’s crossbar. In Falkirk’s next attack Blair Alston was able to test Fox with a low drive, but the Thistle keeper was well placed to save.
Even with the comfort of a two goal lead Thistle weren’t in any position to relax and in the 77th minute Scott Fox made an important save to keep out Blair Alston’s effort from point blank range.
That was the last real moment of anxiety as Thistle went on to complete a deserved 3-1 victory.