Saturday 7th April, 2018 at 8:22pm
Having dropped to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership on Tuesday with a heavy defeat at Dingwall against Ross County, Partick Thistle returned to league action by welcoming Kilmarnock to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. The Jags and their visitors came into the clash in contrasting form. Thistle came into the game on a nine game winless run, meanwhile their opponents were in the midst of nine game unbeaten league streak.
There were five personnel changes made to the team that lost at County as well as a formation alteration. The Jags went from a five-at-the-back to a four man defence with Ryan Scully still deputising for the injured Tomas Cerny in goals. The back four was made up of Christie Elliott, Niall Keown, Baily Cargill and the returning Callum Booth with Abdul Osman and Andrew McCarthy sitting ahead of them. McCarthy came back into the side for a third start in five games, replacing Martin Woods who picked up an injury in Tuesday’s defeat. The attack looked very different today with three changes made in behind the lone striker, Conor Sammon. Ryan Edwards, Miles Storey and Adam Barton all dropped to the bench, being replaced by Steven Lawless, Chris Erskine and Blair Spittal.
The game started slowly with both sides having periods of possession without creating anything serious although Kris Boyd did go close on 19 minutes. A long diagonal ball was lifted into the Jags box from deep, aimed at the veteran striker, Boyd. The former Rangers man leapt higher than the backpedalling Niall Keown and tried to flick a header towards goal but the Ladbrokes Premiership’s top goalscorer failed to hit the target as his effort ended up a couple of yards over the bar.
The visitors had another great chance to take the lead as Youssef Mulumbu played Jordan Jones through in the 26th minute. Jones made a terrific run in behind Thistle’s rear-guard and had a chance to take Ryan Scully on one-on-one. Fortunately for the hosts, the goalkeeper came out on top smothering the ball as Jones attempted to nip past him but it then fell to Kris Boyd. Boyd took a touch and shot but Christie Elliott was back to clear the attempt in Scully’s absence.
Although the game had been fairly even overall, Killie had created the better chances in the first half and finally took advantage in the 35th minute. After Abdul Osman fouled Lee Erwin in the Thistle half the set piece was taken quickly to Jordan Jones who was in space on the Kilmarnock left. He then delivered a great ball into the box finding the head of Stuart Findlay who powered home a header on the run. The goal all came from a momentary lapse in Thistle concentration but the away side took full advantage of the situation.
The teams went into the break with Killie a goal ahead and although there was a better performance present for the hosts, the cutting edge was still lacking. If the Maryhill men were to get anything from the game they would need to start carving out chances during the final 45 minutes.
The Jags did come out for the second period with more attacking fluency and created a couple of opportunities early on. Firstly, six minutes after the restart, Chris Erskine rifled a shot goalward from 25 yards which Jamie MacDonald failed to catch. The ball then fell to Conor Sammon who tried a first time shot but an excellent sliding tackle by a Kilmarnock defender stopped the effort from reaching its target.
Then, a minute later, Erskine and Sammon were once again involved as the Jags went close. Chris Erskine slotted a perfectly weighted ball through to the Irishman who then had the job of firing past Jamie MacDonald. The Killie ‘keeper was out quickly and was able to make the save having left Sammon with little to aim at.
The Jags had one final chance of note as they pushed for an equalising goal and it fell in the 77th minute. A deep cross from Callum Booth was punched unconvincingly by MacDonald in the Kilmarnock goal and the ball came to Christie Elliott. The full-back tried to get a shot away but snatched at it and fired across the box. It could have ended up being a good cross had someone been there to capitalise but no one was and the ball skipped away from danger.
As such, the game ended 1-0 to the visiting Killie who extended their unbeaten league run to ten games while Thistle reached double figures in games without a win. It had been a much more positive showing than the previous outing at Dingwall and the side had created much more in 90 minutes than they had in a number games.
The Jags now have a fortnight to prepare for five crucial split games during which they must pick up some points if they are to escape their current predicament. The fixtures are to be confirmed and more information will be available on ptfc.co.uk in the coming days.
THISTLE TEAM: Scully, Elliott, Keown, Cargill, Booth, McCarthy, Osman (Barton, 82’), Lawless, Erskine, Spittal (Storey, 73’), Sammon (Doolan, 66’).
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Sneddon, Dumbuya, McGinn, Edwards.
KILMARNOCK TEAM: MacDonald, O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Findlay, Taylor, Dicker, Mulumbu (Brophy, 73’), Power, Jones, Erwin (McKenzie, 57’), K. Boyd (Tshibola, 79’).
UNUSED SUBS (KIL): Fasan, S. Boyd, Burke, Kiltie.
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