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Partick Thistle FC

Williamson hoping to continue defence’s improvement

After three games out of the side, Ryan Williamson returned to the Partick Thistle starting line-up against Inverness Caley Thistle on 14th December in a 3-1 win. Since, Ryan has maintained his spot in the side and put in a few impressive performances from right-back. Most recently, at Alloa last Saturday, Williamson was one of Thistle’s main attacking threats charging down the flank and delivering some testing crosses into the hosts’ box. This weekend, Dundee United visit Maryhill and the Jags’ defence will have to be ready to deal with the league’s leaders and highest scorers. Williamson spoke to ahead of the fixture:

“It’s one we’re 100% looking forward to. We’ve been on a decent run as of late and we feel we’ve picked up in terms of performance so it’s a good place to be at the moment. Dundee United are a great team but we have to be ready to compete with them and hopefully get a big three points.”

The Jags’ draw at Alloa was a slightly disappointing one because of how the game went. Thistle managed to create a handful of good chances but were denied time and time again by the heroics of the Wasps’ goalkeeper, Jamie MacDonald, and Ryan admits it felt like something of an opportunity missed against the league’s bottom side.

“It was a game that we felt confident about after the Morton result but it ended up being quite a frustrating day. I thought we did enough to win the game but MacDonald was showing why he’s played in the Premiership for so long with some of his saves.

“We don’t want to be too hard on ourselves because we felt the performance was decent and we’ve now got an opportunity to get back to winning ways at home in front of our fans.”

Dundee United have won nine games in the league by two or more goals already this season but in both the games between the Tangerines and the Jags this season, Robbie Neilson’s side has won by the odd goal and Ryan believes Thistle can take belief from that as they prepare to take on the promotion favourites.

“We know their strengths. Obviously, at the forefront is Shankland who’s had another amazing season and he’s scored twice against us in two games but they’ve got a good team all-round and that’s proven by how far in front they are; that doesn’t happen off the back of one player.

“At the same time, we know how well we can play and it’s been close in the two games this season, particularly the one at Tannadice when I thought we were the better team and were very unlucky not to pick up any points. The manager will have us well-prepared and ready to go at kick-off tomorrow.”

Thistle’s defence has been quietly improving in recent weeks with the Jags looking more capable than ever of grinding out results when ahead but Thistle still haven’t recorded a league clean sheet and Williamson says the defenders are really keen to get that monkey off their backs.

“It’s a tough one to figure out. We know our defending earlier in the season wasn’t good enough but we‘re working very hard to get better and I think we have improved more recently both individually and as a unit.

“I also think we’re doing the simple things better like stopping crosses and picking up men so hopefully that clean sheet is coming. You look at the goals we’ve conceded in the last two games; a deflected cross at Alloa and penalty at Morton, teams aren’t ripping us apart as much as they were early in the season and we need to continue improving and start getting those clean sheets.”

The Maryhill men play at home for the first time in 2020 this weekend and Ryan hopes that the Jags are able to make the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill a really tough place to come this year.

“We started really poorly at home but we went four games unbeaten at Firhill before the Dundee game and that shows we were moving in the right direction. Now, in the New Year, we want to make sure no team comes here and has an easy ride which starts with United this week.”

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