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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Inverness CT – 6th August 2016

Coming off the back of four consecutive Betfred cup victories, Partick Thistle were looking to continue those winning ways as Inverness came to Firhill on the opening day of the 2016/17 Ladbrokes Premiership season.

Inverness would have been confident ahead of the game having scored 12 goals in two games before today. Caley Thistle’s 7-0 victory over Arbroath last Saturday seemed to indicate that they wouldn’t be sitting back against the Jags. Thistle themselves had been in good goal scoring form with eight different players netting already in the Betfred cup.

Alan Archibald made two changes to the side that beat Queen’s Park comfortably just a week ago. Abdul Osman made his return from injury to captain Thistle,  coming in for David Wilson, while Ryan Edwards was replaced by David Amoo. Thistle deployed the familiar 4-2-3-1 system for the game, with Kris Doolan spearheading the attack.

Before the game, everyone at Firhill partook in a minute of applause for Luke Wallace, a young Jags fan who sadly passed away in June at the age of just 16. Both sets of fans applauded as everyone from Partick Thistle paid their respects to a lost member of the Jags family.

The game started slowly with early season nerves showing on both sides. Thistle were struggling to get on the ball as Caley Thistle dominated possession. The only notable chance of the opening stages fell to Billy King as he found space 25 yards out but his shot flew over the bar.

Inverness were closing down very well in the first half which lead to Thistle being reduced to long balls for the first 20 minutes. In the 23rd minute, David Amoo was booked for a foul on Billy King a yard outside the box but, from a dangerous area the shot from the free kick deflected off the wall and out for a corner. Around 25 minutes in, Thistle began to pick up the pace. Alan Archibald’s men got their first chance of the game around that time. Sean Welsh picked out Liam Lindsay with a free kick but the centre-back couldn’t direct his header on target.

With around 10 minutes to go before half-time, Thistle managed to make the breakthrough. In a passage of play, started by the returning Abdul Osman, the men in red and yellow managed to string some quick passes together for the first time in the game. Booth found Steven Lawless who, on the stretch, managed to poke the ball to Chris Erskine. The number 10 then set the ball onto his left foot and curled it home past Owain Fon Williams.

The Caley Jags may have felt aggrieved as Inverness had dominated most of the game up to that point.  Despite going behind, the visitors almost hit straight back as Liam Polworth picked up the ball and ran towards Tomas Cerny’s goal. However, as he set up to shoot, Liam Lindsay made a vital last ditch challenge. Scott Boden also had a good chance but he fired wide from a difficult angle.

Thistle went in at half-time in front. The performance hadn’t been convincing in the first 45 but the Jags were showing signs of improvement as the half went on. Inverness had looked dangerous when given space but Tomas Cerny was yet to be truly tested.

The second started completely differently to the first with Thistle in total control. Abdul Osman was bossing the midfield in the opening stages of the second half, allowing Thistle’s creative forces to express themselves more freely.

Around 15 minutes after the break, Alan Archibald’s men took advantage of their extra space. Sean Welsh managed to win a free kick wide on the right hand side, around 40 yards out. Welsh himself took the kick and his delivery found Osman at the back post. The skipper headed it back into the danger area and Liam Lindsay flicked it towards goal. A scramble then ensued in the six yard box ending with David Amoo forcing the ball over the line to double the lead.

Steven Lawless almost made it three with 19 minutes to go. David Amoo’s deep cross landed at the feet of Lawless, the wide midfielder then managed to get a half-volley away but it flashed wide of goal.

Ryan Edwards replaced Chris Erskine as Alan Archibald looked to see out the game and safely collect the points. Thistle’s second substitution was more disruptive, Liam Lindsay picked up a knock in a challenge with Ross Draper and was forced off the field to be replaced by Ade Azeez. This led to a shake-up in the Thistle defence as Ziggy Gordon moved to centre-half and Sean Welsh dropped to right-back.

The change didn’t seem to damage the team’s confidence though as Kris Doolan manufactured a good chance within the last ten minutes of the game, forcing a decent save from Fon Williams. After that it was a straight forward affair as the Jags professionally saw out the game and held out for the three points, leaving the Firhill side in second place going into Sunday.

The victory was a deserved one in the end with Thistle completely on top of proceedings in the second 45. Despite a shaky start the defence claimed an opening day clean sheet with some solid tackling and good aerial play. Abdul Osman made a very good return to the starting line-up highlighting his importance to the Thistle midfield.

The Jags now turn their attentions to Dundee United. Thistle travel to Tannadice on Tuesday night looking to make it to the quarter-finals of the Betfred cup.

Thistle: Cerny, Booth, Lindsay (Azeez, 77) Devine, Gordon, Osman, Welsh, Lawless, Amoo, Erskine (Edwards, 72), Doolan

Thistle subs N/U: Scully, Wilson, McDaid, Syme, Pogba

Inverness CT: Fon Williams, Raven, Warren, McNaughton, Tremarco, Polworth, Tansey, Vigurs (Fisher, 75), Mulraney (Draper, 66), Boden, King

Inverness CT subs N/U: Mackay, Doran, Brown, Horner, Sutherland

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