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Partick Thistle FC

Spittal pleased with battling Jags performance

Despite an up and down start to the Ladbrokes Premiership season there have been plenty of positives for Partick Thistle in the first four months of the league campaign and one of those positives has been Blair Spittal. The dynamic midfielder, signed from Dundee United in the summer on a free transfer, has made a big impression during his maiden season in red and yellow, scoring six goals and being involved in many more. His impressive record of creativity continued yesterday against Hearts as his free kick led to Kris Doolan’s equalising goal in the 85th minute. Spittal spoke to after the clash with the Jambos.

The number seven started by telling us just how good it feels to be on the right end of a late goal for the second time in a month having conceded goals in the latter stages of games all too often already this season.

“It was a tough game for us; a bit of a battle. We played some good stuff in spells and we were trying to get the ball down but after Hearts scored we were forced to go a bit more direct. We were just plucking away, hoping for that stroke of luck and thankfully the ball drops to Doolan in the box and he gets that goal which is huge for us. Not only in terms of getting the point but also bringing an element of confidence back after the poor result at Ibrox.”

He also touched on the uncertainty surrounding whether the game would go ahead or not and gave a player’s point of view on the debacle.

“We had to try our best to focus on the game as if it is going ahead but it was frustrating to have that doubt hanging over it. It’s obviously going to play on our minds a little bit as we only got the nod that it was likely to go ahead last night but through the week we did our best to keep any off-field problems away from the footballing side of things.”

Blair was forced out of his comfort zone during the Tynecastle clash as he played long spells at wing-back and he told us how he found the unfamiliar position.

“It’s a position that I have played before albeit extremely briefly and on the right rather than the left. I enjoyed it for the most part; I got plenty of the ball and I was able to link up with Stevie Lawless and Miles Storey who were both making good runs for me.”

With just two games in November and then eight in December, Blair stressed the importance of going into the final month of the year physically fit and ready for a lot of running.

“It’s been well documented that we’re struggling with injuries and that has meant that certain players have played more minutes than they ideally would have but we know that these things are out of our control and we have to use the players we have to their fullest potential. December is a huge month for us. Of course, we have a lot of games and we need to make sure the boys who are available are ready for the physical demands of the games. That means good recovery and then hard work in training between now and our next game.”

Yesterday’s point took the Jags to within a point of Kilmarnock in tenth and Spittal knows how key it is to stay close to team’s above during the busy winter period.

“Our start to the season has been less than ideal but recently we’ve been picking up more points. We’ve only lost once in our last five and the points we’ve been getting have kept us very much alongside the teams like Kilmarnock and Hamilton and that’s encouraging. We’ve kept ourselves in touching distance and now with so many points to play for in December, we’ll be looking to climb the table.”

The Jags now have another two weeks until their next match as the Betfred Cup final means there is no game next weekend and Blair mentioned the frustration for the players as they’re unable to get stuck back into league action following the international break.

“It is frustrating for the lads. When the fixture list is broken up by the internationals and then the cup final it disrupts our flow a little bit. Also, not only do we get the Celtic game taken away from November but it gets rearranged in the middle of December which was already a hectic month. We just have to make sure that we use our time off wisely and are prepared for the clash against Hibernian.”

With the Hibees visiting the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill in two weeks time, Blair knows that the team must look for the three points against a beatable Hibernian side.

“The pressure is on us at home. We have to try to impose our game on them and take them out of their comfort zone. At Easter Road, we started well but fell away and allowed them to play the way they wanted to and we can’t afford to do that again. At the end of the day, we know this Hibernian team can be beaten and we’ll be looking to come away with the victory.”

Preparations now begin for that Hibernian clash as the Jags look for their third league win of the season. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill on Saturday the 2nd of December.

More reaction from Kris Doolan and Steven Lawless as well as Jags gaffer Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers. Log in now to see it.

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