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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton – 10th April 2013

Neither manager saw this fixture as a title decider but given the size of the crowd that assembled at Firhill to see it nobody could underplay the potential significance of it.
It was in many ways the best possible fixture for Thistle to have so soon after the Ramsdens Cup Final disappointment and Alan Archibald made three changes to his team from that game. In place of the suspended Aaron Muirhead came in Andy Dowie to make his Thistle debut second time around, Kris Doolan was preferred to Steven Craig up front and Ross Forbes started for the first time since the 2-0 win at Hamilton as Steven Lawless dropped to the bench.
Kick-off was delayed for 17 minutes to allow the near 9,000 crowd into the ground and the opening exchanges was understandably a little nervy. Of the two teams it was probably Morton that settled the quicker but they were unable to trouble the Thistle defence. Only once in the opening quarter of the game was Scott Fox called upon to make a save and even then David O’Brien’s low drive didn’t present him with any undue problems.
Thistle too weren’t creating too many chances but the longer the half went on the more they began to assert themselves on the game. Both Stephen O’Donnell, from the right, and Ross Forbs from the left swung over dangerous ball that the Morton defence were hard pressed to deal with and in the 33rd minute Thistle came the closet yet to taking the lead. Stuart Bannigan put the ball into the box from the left hand side and Kris Doolan was able to glance a header towards goal but couldn’t quite direct the ball wide of Gaston.
Sean Welsh shot over the bar from 25 yards out as Thistle upped the pace and with half-time just 4 minutes away they took the lead. Chris Erskine gathered the ball at the left hand corner of the box and his back post cross was met by James Craigen and he fired the ball home.
A Morton onslaught was expected at the start of the second half but while Thistle did at times find themselves a little hemmed in they dealt comfortably enough with what a Morton side, looking a little devoid of ideas, had to offer. They were on a number of occasions able to win free kicks in dangerous positions near the Thistle goal but weren’t once able to profit from them.
The more Morton pressed the more you got the sense that Thistle could pick them off on the break and exploit the gaps that they were leaving. They may well have done so had they shown a little more composure in the final third of the field.
In the 73rd minute Chris Erskine pushed a pass through to Kris Doolan who was tireless throughout the 90 minutes. Kris did well to keep the ball in play but when he lifted the ball back towards goal there was no Thistle player on hand to attack the ball.
Two minutes later Doolan was again in the thick of the action as Thistle once more threatened Morton on the counter attack. Kris ignored Steven Lawless to his right and elected to shot for goal himself. His shot from 25 yards was well enough struck but Gaston, although scrambling a little, was able to make a relatively comfortable save.
With the noise levels off the park growing all the time you sensed that Morton were simply not going to find a way through a Thistle defence that was in no mood to concede.
The celebrations on and off the park at full-time underlined just how significant this result could prove to be but nobody inside Firhill is fooled into thinking that it’s job done but a return to the top flight of Scottish Football is almost within touching range.

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