Saturday 31st December, 2016 at 7:26pm
After two consecutive victories, against Ross County and Dundee, Partick Thistle would look to make it three on the bounce against Kilmarnock at Firhill on New Year’s Eve. The Jags had climbed into the top six with their win in midweek and Thistle knew that a win would keep them there heading into the winter break.
Alan Archibald made one change from the side who faced Dundee on Wednesday and it was a forced one. Liam Lindsay, who was substituted at half-time against the Dees, couldn’t make the squad for today’s game. He was replaced by Steven Lawless who scored Thistle’s first goal the last time the teams met in September. Due to this change, the team reverted to a flat back four.
Kilmarnock kicked things off but no less than two minutes in the home side thought they had opened the scoring. Chris Erskine lost his man after a smart turn and shot towards the near post. Jamie MacDonald saved low to his left but the ball fell to Steven Lawless. The wide midfielder opted not to shoot but rather hit the ball across goal where Kris Doolan was waiting to pounce. The striker tapped home but the linesman’s flag was up and the goal was disallowed.
Doolan had another shot on the ten-minute mark. Ryan Edwards laid the ball off to the forward but when Doolan shot from 25 yards, MacDonald was able to make the save and collect the loose ball afterwards.
The travelling side had their first opportunity of the match 17 minutes in when Dean Hawkshaw was able to find space to shoot, 5 yards outside the Jags’ box. The shot was a difficult one for Cerny to deal with but the ‘keeper was able to parry the ball away from danger.
Adam Barton saw a long range effort caught safely by MacDonald eight minutes before the Jags had the best chance of the first half. The chance came when Steven Lawless was able to cleverly play Kris Doolan in behind, beating the offside trap. Doolan tried to shoot low across goal but the shot was saved, with the ball falling to Chris Erskine, 10 yards from goal. The midfielder shot but the attempt skewed wide and a corner was given.
The game was goalless at half-time with that late chance for Erskine being the only clear cut opportunity from inside the box. Thistle had looked impressive in the first 15 minutes but the game’s quality petered out as the weather conditions worsened. No changes were made at half-time.
The first chance of the second period fell to Nathan Tyson, four minutes after the restart. The ex-Doncaster man cut in from the right flank and shot from an angle. The attempt flew high and wide, nowhere near troubling Tomas Cerny in the Thistle goal.
As the game approached the hour mark the home team thought they had scored for the second time in the game. Steven Lawless found himself in space around 20 yards outside the Killie box and he tried to find Kris Doolan. The ball was headed towards an opposing defender but Doolan nipped in and stole the ball from the opponent’s toes. The ball bounced high in front of the attacker and he proceeded to header the ball past MacDonald and into the net but for the second time of the afternoon the linesman had his flag up and the goal was chalked off.
The away side came extremely close to taking the lead 67 minutes in when an over-the-top ball found Souleymane Coulibaly who had found his way in behind his marker. The Ivorian then directed the ball back across the six-yard box where Florent Bojaj was arriving. Bojaj got to the ball but could only touch it over the bar from close range, on the stretch.
With the creative forces of the home team dwindling, Alan Archibald made two changes in the hopes that a winning goal was still to be had for his side. Steven Lawless and Ryan Edwards both came off while David Amoo and Ade Azeez were introduced adding some fresh legs to the Jags’ frontline.
Despite these changes it would be the team from Ayrshire who had the best chances in the closing minutes. Firstly, Florent Bojaj saw his shot from the edge of the box deflected wide by Sean Welsh. The resulting corner found Coulibaly and the number 19 headed towards the far post. Although most of the away support seemed to think he had found the corner, it flew wide of Cerny’s left stick. After this, Chris Erskine was replaced by Declan McDaid with less than five minutes to go of the game.
The final shot of the game came from Steven Smith. The Killie skipper found room for a shot just outside the Thistle box and shot for goal. The attempt was headed for the top corner but Tomas Cerny made the save.
The game ended 0-0 with the Jags unable to extend their winning run. They do, however, end December having lost just two games out of seven with both defeats coming at the hands of league leaders, Celtic. Due to other results, Partick Thistle sit seventh dropping one place below Ross County.
The team now head into the winter break with the next first team game coming against Formartine where Alan Archibald’s squad will be looking to advance into the next round of the Scottish cup. The Jags’ next league fixture is an away meeting with the Ladbrokes Premiership’s bottom club, Inverness at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Thistle Team: Cerny, Booth, Devine, Barton, Elliott, Osman, Welsh, Lawless (Amoo, 67’), Edwards (Azeez,76’), Erskine (McDaid, 86’), Doolan.
Thistle Subs (N/U): Stuckmann, Gordon, McCarthy, Wilson.
Kilmarnock Team: MacDonald, Smith, Dicker, Wilson, Taylor, Hendrie, Hawkshaw (Frizzell, 52’), Adams, Tyson (Jones, 66’), Coulibaly, Bojaj.
Kilmarnock Subs (N/U): Mackay, Boyle, McLean, Cameron, Boyd.