Saturday 18th July, 2015 at 3:25pm
Thistle returned to Scotland for a pre-season friendly against recent Scottish Cup finalists Falkirk. The trip to the Championship side represented the first time Thistle went to the stadium since winning the title in 2012/13. It would also represent a game on an artificial surface which would be good preparation for the surface at Hamilton in two weeks time.
Manager Alan Archibald made seven changes to the side which defeated Eastleigh midweek with only Bannigan, Osman, Frans and Amoo retaining their places in the squad. There was a first start of the pre-season schedule for Ryan Stevenson and Jack Hendry came in as Frederic Frans.
Falkirk are only a week away from competitive action with the Petrofac Cup starting next week and their sharpness proved evident in the early stages as they pounced on poor Thistle ball retention to create a couple of good opportunities. Vaulks robbed Osman of the ball around 25 yards out, playing it in to former Jag John Baird. The strikers powerful shot was low but comfortable for Scully in goal.
Falkirk were dangerous from corners but Thistle managed to scramble the ball away with a couple of last ditch clearances.
Thistle’s one bright spark in the first half was Declan McDaid who showed fearlessness and determination to run at the Falkirk defence, winning a couple of promising free kicks, which Thistle couldn’t fully take advantage of.
It was from one of his lengthy runs that Thistle won a free kick right on the edge of the box after he had slotted the ball inside to Stevenson. Gary Fraser piled the free kick right into the Falkirk wall as the first half concluded.
A raft of changes in the second half disrupted the flow of the rhythm but Thistle’s superior fitness caused them to take charge of the game, becoming a more potent threat in the final third.
A through ball caused Falkirk’s goalkeeper, Rogers, to race from his goal, heading only to David Wilson. He played the ball wide to Booth who fired a dangerous cross into the box which Thistle attackers were unlucky to not get on the end of.
Steven Lawless came off the bench at half time and was having a great impact on the right hand side with some jinking runs into the box. It was Lawless who came closest to scoring when he connected with McDaid’s low cross, finding his shot blocked by a defender on the line.
Alan Archibald will take encouragement from the fact that no player sustained any injuries during the game, although he will be slightly disappointed in the performance.
Next up for Thistle is a game at Firhill against Wigan Athletic on Tuesday night. Kick off is 7:30pm.