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Partick Thistle FC

Banzo looking forward to Firhill return

Following the disappointment of opening day defeat to Clyde in League One for Partick Thistle they look to bounce back against Airdrieonians this weekend. The travelling Diamonds are the first league visitors to Firhill of the new term and will be looking to build on their 2-0 win over Peterhead from matchday one. Thistle number eight, Stuart Bannigan, spoke to as we look ahead to the visit of Ian Murray’s side:

“We’re looking forward to this one. Everyone knows that the performance and result against Clyde wasn’t good enough but we’ve now got the chance to go and put that right this Saturday in what will be another tough match against a good team.”

The Jags had shown plenty of positive signs in their Betfred Cup ties against St. Mirren, Queen’s Park and Queen of the South but fell short of expectations at Broadwood and Bannigan knows that Thistle have to do better if they want to get back to winning ways.

“We felt good off the back of the cup games but we just didn’t turn up on the day and Clyde deserved their win, now we have to make sure that doesn’t happen again. We want to play with confidence and belief which is something I thought we lacked at times last week.

“Hopefully that defeat gives us a kick because the league is the most important thing to us this year and we can’t afford to perform like that. Clyde were organised and attacked well and, as I said earlier, were deserving of their win certainly on the balance of chances so we know we have to be at our best this week.”

The Jags started their home campaign off with a 2-0 win over Queen’s Park a fortnight ago and Stuart hopes the team can make a game at Firhill a really daunting prospect for away teams this season.

“I don’t think we’ve made it a difficult place to come in recent years but that’s something we’re really keen to change. Obviously, around half of your games are going to be at home so home form is crucial if you want to be at the top of the table. We’ve got a big pitch here and a terrific surface so we have to make the most of that.”

The first home league game of the season will have a very different atmosphere this term compared to previous examples with no fans permitted at this stage, however, Banzo says it’s up to the players to create their own atmosphere and ensure they’re in the right mindset for the contest.

“It’s still a bit strange, you know. Not having the fans there to give you that extra push in the key moments does give it a weird feel but that’s something we have to adapt to and adjust to mentally so that we’re still able to play to our full capabilities despite the situation and hopefully we’ll see supporters back sooner rather than later.”

Despite the Jags support not being able to attend in person, Stuart is hopeful that the team can put on an entertaining performance for the fans watching from afar.

“The club have implemented ways for the fans to follow the game and that’s great because it’s the closest they can get to it at the moment. We know that last week didn’t match our expectations or the fans’ so we’ll be looking to give them a performance they can enjoy at home against Airdrieonians.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Thistle assistant manager, Alan Archibald and James Penrice are now available for JagZone subscribers to watch – log in to view.

We’re streaming our clash with Airdrieonians on Saturday afternoon. A pay-per-view pass costs just £10 for this match. Click here to purchase your pay-per-view pass. 

We’ll also have extended highlights and a full game replay of the opening league match of the season on JagZone this Saturday evening.

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