Saturday 4th March, 2023 at 5:00pm
The Kris Doolan era began at a sunny Firhill as the Jags took on Raith Rovers. Picking up seven points from three tough away games as interim manager, the club legend was looking to keep the momentum going with a tough test against a Rovers side undefeated on league business since December.
There was only one change to the XI that won at Dundee midweek, as David Mitchell stepped in to replace Jamie Sneddon who had recently received an injection. Darren Brownlie and Kevin Holt returned to the squad from injury, and Mason McCready came back from his loan at Dalbeatie Star on a seven-day recall to fill the bench.
The opening five minutes were very even with both teams causing the occasional panic on the attack. Raith delivered some dangerous quick through balls whereas the Jags were patient, playing from the back and shifting side to side.
Raith had the ball in the back of the net after ten minutes, but it was ruled offside. While Raith perhaps looked the more deadly side early on, Thistle’s wide players were strutting their stuff with little flicks, one-twos, and nutmegs.
The stadium erupted on 14 minutes when Ross Docherty launched a long ball which beat the back line and was latched onto by Scott Tiffoney. Tiffoney was then barged into from behind and brought down in the box. Referee Greg Aitken waved away the penalty shouts.
Minutes later the fans were in voice again as another push at Tiffoney’s back went uncalled, which was followed by another goal chopped for being offside as Raith played a free kick too quickly.
It was almost 1-0 to the Jags on the 18th minute as a cross from Harry Milne on the left just slipped away from the foot of Brian Graham at the back post.
Captain Ross Docherty received a booking around 20 minutes for clipping the heels of a Raith player who looked to be on a dangerous counterattack.
Hearts were racing on both sides soon after. Raith’s high pressing caused problems for the Thistle back line and ‘keeper, and on the other end some nice short passing play between Graham, Tiffoney, and Jack McMillan threatened but ultimately came to nothing.
Connor McAvoy showed his quality by coming with the ball all the way to the opposition’s box before getting back and making an important sliding tackle near his own box.
McMillan and Steven Lawless excited the fans with a neat one-two around a man at the edge of the box, but McMillan’s eventual low cross was turned away.
On 38 minutes, Kyle Turner latched onto a loose ball in the box and worked into a bit of space before finding Scott Tiffoney (it was definitely him this time) with a back post cross to header it across the goal and make it 1-0.
As International Women’s Week begins, PTWFC players Cara Henderson and Leah Robinson took on the crossbar challenge at halftime in partnership with Her Game Too. no luck for Robinson but Henderson planted one squarely on the bar.
Raith’s first booking came when Ross Millen was booked near the start of the second half for pulling the shirt of Milne.
Brian Graham was found in space to unleash a curling long shot which was parried out by Jamie MacDonald. The ensuing corner saw a lucky escape for Raith as MacDonald dived to take the ball from Milne’s feet.
Soon after, Graham had a much better chance and converted this time to make it 2-0. Milne was slipped through in the left hand side of the box by a delicious pass from Tiffoney before sliding a low ball across the face for the number 9 to tap it in at the back post.
Less than ten minutes later it was 3-0, Steven Lawless done amazingly well on the ball to dribble it through the two men closing him down before playing Tiffoney through for him to touch it right up to the goalie and tap it past him.
Doolan’s first subs came around the 70th minute as Lawless and Turner were replaced by Aidan Fitzpatrick and Zander MacKenzie.
The closing 20 saw a little bit of shoring up, Raith being allowed more of the ball than before but still unable to beat the Jags defence with Milne and McAvoy in particular displaying excellent tackling.
Brace scorer Scott Tiffoney got a well earned rest in the 76th minute as he was substituted for Lee Hodson to see the game out.
Raith substitute Scott McGill saw yellow for bringing Docherty down in the Thistle half when the ball was already gone.
The visitors nearly pulled a goal back on the 82nd, but a very strong hand from David Mitchell turned the cross-goal away. The rebound was met at the by-line, but Milne once again produced a crucial sliding block.
Five minutes of the game left to play brought Doolan’s final substitute stoppage as scorer Brian Graham was replaced by Danny Mullen.
A penalty was given to Raith in the 88th minute to threaten a deserved clean sheet, but Mitchell dived to palm Lewis Vaughn’s effort away and the attempt on the rebound was deflected out too.
Following another deserved win, Doolan and his team will be looking to keep the form going next week against Greenock Morton at Cappielow.