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Match Report

Partick Thistle v St. Johnstone – 28th October 2017

Having picked up just three points in their opening nine games, Partick Thistle have enjoyed a miraculous upturn in fortunes over the last week leading up to this afternoon’s match. A last-gasp win over Dundee gave them their first victory of the season while a battling draw with Hamilton during the week brought the Jags their first clean sheet of the league season. Those two results didn’t lift the Jags off the bottom but they were only there on goal difference.

Visiting Maryhill this afternoon were St. Johnstone. The Perthshire outfit sat in sixth place ahead of the game but were coming into the match off a poor run of form. The Saints hadn’t won a game in four, failing to score in all of those games.

The Jags went with a very similar line-up to that which started at the SuperSeal Stadium on Tuesday; making just one change. Tomas Cerny started in goals once again behind an identical back five to that which played in midweek. Paul McGinn, Niall Keown, Daniel Devine, Jordan Turnbull and Steven Lawless formed the Jags’ rear-guard in behind Adam Barton and Ryan Edwards in central midfield. Blair Spittal played in the number ten role again while Miles Storey started up top alongside Conor Sammon who replaced Kris Doolan in the starting line-up. Doolan dropped to the bench and new signing, Martin Woods, also made the squad.

St. Johnstone were the team who created the first chance with their first sight of goal coming in the 1st minute. Brian Easton swung a cross in from the wing and the ball dropped in the Jags’ box. It fell to David Wotherspoon who took a shot but Tomas Cerny made the block at close range.

The next opportunity came in the 14th minute and it would be the opener. Miles Storey picked up the ball near the half-way line and burst down the left flank. The ex-Aberdeen striker knocked the ball into space behind Joe Shaughnessy and raced past the centre-half, leaving the defender in his dust. Storey then moved into the box and tried the finish from the angle, slotting it past Zander Clark and giving Thistle the lead. Just after the goal, St. Johnstone were forced into a substitution as Michael O’Halloran came on for Stefan Scougall who had been struggling in the early stages of the match.

The Jags almost doubled their lead in the 20th minute through Blair Spittal. A Ryan Edwards free-kick was cleared but only as far as Spittal who controlled before slamming a shot towards goal from a few yards outside the box. His effort whizzed goalward but missed the far post by what seemed like inches. Three minutes after Blair’s chance, the visitors were forced into yet another change as Brian Easton went off, being replaced by Scott Tanser.

The game then descended into a scrappy tit-for-tat as both sides began passing sloppily and surrendering possession far too easily. The game went into the break at 1-0 with Storey’s goal separating the teams. Due to the history of this fixture, the home side grabbing the opener was a good sign for Thistle but with 45 minutes left for the away team to turn it around, the Jags would need to stay alert to claim the three points.

St. Johnstone turned up the pressure in the early stages of the second period with half chances coming the way of Liam Craig, David Wotherspoon and Scott Tanser but the Saints still weren’t troubling Tomas Cerny too much with the Czech ‘keeper easily claiming a number of crosses from the McDiarmid Park side.

As the game entered its final ten minutes, Alan Archibald made two changes in the 80th and 83rd minute respectively. Firstly, Conor Sammon was replaced by Kris Doolan following a good shift by the on-loan Hearts man and then Blair Spittal was taken off for Martin Woods who was making his Thistle debut having signed with the club yesterday morning.

The visitors huffed and puffed looking for an equaliser but no such goal was forthcoming and the Jags picked up the victory upon the referee’s final whistle. Miles Storey’s second Partick Thistle goal being the eventual winner with the win putting the Jags into tenth place in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Alan Archibald’s side now look towards next weekend’s trip to Govan to take on Rangers in the Ladbrokes Premiership. Thistle travel to the Gers looking to make it four games without defeat; kick-off from Ibrox is 15:00.

PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, McGinn, Keown, Devine (c), Turnbull, Lawless, Barton, Edwards, Spittal (Woods, 83’), Sammon (Doolan, 80’), Storey.

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, Nitriansky, Fraser, Nisbet.

ST. JOHNSTONE TEAM: Clark, Comrie, Shaughnessy (c), Anderson, Easton (Tanser, 23’), Paton, Davidson, Wotherspoon, Craig (MacLean, 70’), Scougall (O’Halloran, 18’), Cummins.

UNUSED SUBS (STJ): Mannus, Alston, Johnstone, Gilchrist.

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