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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Hibernian – 2nd December 2017

After gaining their first win of the season against Dundee on September 21st, Partick Thistle went on to draw with Hamilton and then beat St. Johnstone. These results meant the Jags ended October full of confidence, however, with only two games in the whole of November the Maryhill men had a stop-start month. A disheartening loss to Rangers was followed by a draw with Hearts and suddenly Thistle found themselves at the bottom of the table. A frantic December period began this afternoon with Hibernian’s visit to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

Alan Archibald made no changes to the team who started at Tynecastle two weeks ago. Tomas Cerny started in goals behind a back four of Paul McGinn, Niall Keown, Daniel Devine and Jordan Turnbull, who filled in at left-back. Adam Barton and Ryan Edwards began the match in the middle of the park with Blair Spittal and Steven Lawless on either side of the midfield. Miles Storey retained his place up front with Chris Erskine in behind him as a number ten. There was a full bench to choose from for Thistle as well with Ryan Scully, Kris Doolan, Conor Sammon, Kevin Nisbet, Gary Fraser, Andrew McCarthy and Martin Woods making up the bench.

The hosts started positively showing signs of danger while attacking but the first chance of the game fell to the travelling Hibees. The Jags gave the ball away in their own half and Simon Murray picked up the ball. The ex-Dundee United striker turned then shot but his effort was deflected and Tomas Cerny was able to save easily.

Thistle had their first real sight of goal on 18 minutes from a Blair Spittal free-kick. Storey won the foul and Spittal took the kick from 30 yards. His effort took a deflection as it pierced the wall and forced a good save out of Ofir Marciano at the Israel-born goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

The Jags had another chance to take the lead on 21 minutes through Chris Erskine. The dynamic midfielder was fed the ball by Paul McGinn but was tackled as he tried to advance. Luckily the loose ball fell to Blair Spittal and the number seven played the ball back into Erskine’s path. Thistle’s number ten then unleashed a rasping shot on goal but his right-footed attempt was too close to the ‘keeper and once again Ofir Marciano denied Thistle with a strong-handed save.

The game descended into an end-to-end contest with little to shout about in the final third for either side and the match reached the interval at 0-0. Each team had seen periods of possession but had struggled to find that killer pass when the time came. Chris Erskine’s one-on-one probably represented the best chance of the first 45 but he was unable to find the net on his weaker side.

Having been denied anything but long range shots in the first half, the visiting Hibees would have been delighted when they took the lead just three minutes into the second period. After Anthony Stokes hit a free kick right into Tomas Cerny’s wall, Lewis Stevenson picked up the ball on the Hibernian right and curled an in-swinging ball into the Jags’ area. Adam Barton rose to meet the delivery but could only get a flick on it. The ball ended up skipping into the bottom corner as Tomas Cerny slipped on his line although it’s difficult to tell whether he would have got to the ball either way. It’s also tough to judge whether or not the goal was an Adam Barton own goal or a fortuitous Lewis Stevenson goal and it will be one for the dubious goals panel to decide.

As they chased the game, Thistle made their first change of the match when Kris Doolan replaced Steven Lawless in the 58th minute.

Just three minutes after coming on, Kris Doolan came very close to grabbing an equaliser for the home side. Jordan Turnbull’s excellent through ball found Miles Storey, breaking the Hibernian rear-guard. Storey then cut the ball across the box finding strike partner, Kris Doolan. The Jags forward then tried to beat Marciano at his near post but once again the ‘stopper made the save, using his feet this time to keep Thistle at bay.

As the match entered its final 15 minutes and the Jags continued to search for a leveller, Alan Archibald made his two remaining changes with Conor Sammon replacing Miles Storey and Gary Fraser replacing Chris Erskine in the 75th and 80th minutes respectively.

Unfortunately for Thistle, despite plenty of pushing, they were unable to break their opponents down and the match ended 1-0 to the visitors. The defeat leaves Thistle four points below 11th place as the packed-full December gets underway in Maryhill.

The Jags now focus on next week’s trip to Ayrshire to take on Kilmarnock. With points there to be won, it is vital that Thistle begin to turn good performances into victories. Kick-off is 15:00 from Rugby Park next Saturday.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, McGinn, Keown, Devine (c), Turnbull, Barton, Edwards, Lawless (Doolan, 58′), Spittal, Erskine (Fraser, 80′), Storey (Sammon, 74′).

THISTLE SUBS (N/U): Scully, McCarthy, Nisbet, Woods.

HIBERNIAN TEAM: Marciano, McGregor, Hanlon, Ambrose, Stevenson, Bartley, Slivka, McGeouch, Boyle (Matulevicius, 91′), Stokes (Barker, 76′), S. Murray (Shaw, 64′).

HIBERNIAN SUBS (N/U): Dabrowski, Porteous, F. Murray.

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