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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Inverness CT – 19th August 2022

Friday night football came to Firhill for the first time of the new season as Partick Thistle welcomed Inverness to Maryhill for their fourth match of the new cinch Championship campaign.

The two sides came into the game following contrasting results the previous weekend with Thistle having lost their first league game of the season against Queen’s Park while Inverness were 4-1 victors over Cove Rangers.

Ian McCall made three changes to the side which had started at Ochilview six days prior with the club’s latest signing Lee Hodson coming into the first XI for his full debut alongside Jack McMillan, Kevin Holt and Harry Milne in defence. David Mitchell continued in goal as did Cole McKinnon and Ross Docherty in the midfield. Stuart Bannigan made his return to the starting line-up at the expense of Kyle Turner while Scott Tiffoney replaced Aidan Fitzpatrick on the wing. Steven Lawless maintained his place on the opposite flank supporting lone striker Brian Graham who scored a hat-trick against the Caley Jags earlier this year at the Caledonian Stadium.

The game started at a lightning quick pace and the home side could have been ahead inside 30 seconds thanks to the directness of Scott Tiffoney on the left flank. The number seven had an early chance to test Caley’s young full-back Lewis Hyde as he burst past the 20-year-old into the Inverness box. Tiffoney’s cut back found Cole McKinnon at the back post but the loanee’s first-time shot with his left-foot went wide of the upright.

Overall, the hosts looked the more dangerous side in the opening stages and they were rewarded for that fact in the 21st minute when Brian Graham put them in front with his fourth goal of the season. Despite the early threat from the Jags’ left flank, the goal was created down the right-hand side as Steven Lawless got the ball near the sideline and drove in-field, playing a well-weighted reverse pass into Cole McKinnon’s path. Not tracked by any defender, McKinnon had the time to look up and spot Graham making a run across into the six-yard box. The 19-year-old slid the ball across to the number nine who lifted the ball over Mark Ridgers and into the back of the net.

As the Caley Jags looked to respond, they finally called David Mitchell into action in the 32nd minute as Billy Mckay looked to level things up. The chance presented itself largely down to the work of the former Ross County striker as he headed a long ball on to Aaron Doran before producing some clever movement to get on the end of the midfielder’s lay-off. He had to take his shot quickly, aiming it towards the near post from 12 yards out, and Mitchell was able to get a strong hand to it and turn it around the post.

Despite that sight of goal for Mckay, it was the Maryhill men dominating proceedings and a second goal in the 35th minute meant the score reflected that superiority. Unlike the first goal which was a well-crafted team move, the second was down to defensive slackness from Robbie Deas. The centre-half played a blind pass back to his goalkeeper which Scott Tiffoney intercepted. With Ridgers out of his goal, Tiffoney left the ball for the onrushing Brian Graham who fired it home into the empty net to give his side a two-goal lead.

The home side went to their substitutes bench at half-time with Darren Brownlie and Kyle Turner replacing Lee Hodson and Ross Docherty, however, that didn’t seem to change the pattern of the game and Brian Graham could have had his hat-trick less than five minutes after the restart. Again, it was Inverness shooting themselves in the foot as a short header back to the goalkeeper from David Carson allowed Graham to rush onto the ball. The Thistle top scorer attempted a cheeky chip over Mark Ridgers but didn’t put enough lift in it which meant the goalkeeper was able to grab it out of the air.

The third goal wouldn’t elude the home side for long though and by the hour mark they had it as the team were awarded their first penalty of the new season. The ball was played long to Cole McKinnon who did excellently to keep the ball in play before working it into the box via Steven Lawless and Jack McMillan. It eventually made its way back to McKinnon who poked it on towards David Carson and Brian Graham with the latter slightly quicker in reaching the ball as he was bundled over with the referee quickly pointing to the spot.

Kevin Holt stepped up to take the kick looking to extend his 100% record from the spot in Thistle colours and it never really looked in doubt. He calmly struck the ball low into the bottom right corner with the goalkeeper diving the wrong way as he notched his second goal of the season.

The visitors never truly looked like mounting a comeback thereafter with Thistle even going on to add a fourth with just over five minutes to play. This time the threat came down the left wing where substitute Aidan Fitzpatrick linked up with Harry Milne to get the left-back into a crossing space where he spotted the run of Anton Dowds. Milne whipped a tantalising ball onto the edge of the six-yard box where Dowds stooped to head powerfully beyond Mark Ridgers to get his second in as many games.

Unfortunately, the team’s first league clean sheet of the season was snatched away in the final moments of the game. A Cameron Harper corner was swung in to the Thistle box and met by George Oakley with the English striker redirecting the ball into the back of the net from seven yards out to make it 4-1.

That didn’t put a dampener on a dazzling display however as Ian McCall’s Jags got back to winning ways in style. The victory took them back to the top of the table ahead of the other Championship games the following afternoon.

Next up for Thistle is the visit of Raith Rovers. That one is a 3pm kick-off at Firhill on Saturday, 27th August.

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