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Partick Thistle 1-0 Accies, 23rd December

Martin McConnell reports from Firhill on Saturday

Ladbrokes Premiership

Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Saturday 23rd December 2017 at 3pm

Partick Thistle 1 Hamilton Academical 0

A momentary lapse at the back from a Thistle set piece, was enough to gift the hosts a valuable three points as we start the busy festive period. It now means that we remain in ninth place going into Wednesday night’s home match against Killie, three ahead of Thistle, and four in front of bottom placed Ross County.

Hamilton started well and bossed a nervous Jags side, but when Niall Keown struck at the back post, he turned the game on its head. Thistle took heart and created a further couple of chances before the break. Hamilton had the best of the second half, with David Templeton going closest to finding an equaliser when he struck the cross bar from outside the box.

Martin Canning made three changes to the side that faced the Staggies, Scott McMann, Antonio Rojano and Darren Lyon replaced Ioannis Skondras (suspended), Rakish Bingham and Alex Gogic. Thistle gaffer Alan Archibald also made three changes, with Doolan, Erskine and Woods coming in for Turnbull, Storey and McCarthy.

Accies boss Martin Canning said afterwards, “It’s hard to say you were the better team when you haven’t won the game. But, I’ve said it time and time again, you don’t have to play well or play poorly to win or lose games in this league. It’s so tight with very little between the teams. Today, with one mistake or a bit of misfortune in our box, I think our own player Tomas actually  runs into big Georgios Sarris and it ends up his man scores from the set piece.

“I think it’s the only effort that Partick have had and I’ve had to think through it and they’ve not had a lot. We started the game reasonably well, then within half an hour the game got a bit scrappy and we didn’t pass the ball well enough. Second half, we passed much better and I thought we dominated. There’s three or four that you wondered why they didn’t go in. They bobbled about and they were shooting, getting blocked and not going in.

“Temps has probably produced the one bit of quality in the game and hits the bar. It just wasn’t to be today. It’s frustrating because it was a big game and for me, the performance first half with two, three or maybe four players not being as at it as they should have been, is very frustrating for me.”

Accies dominated the early proceedings at Firhill and although no chances were created, David Templeton impressed with quick feet that bamboozled his markers time and again. A poor pass back gifted a chance to Thistle just short of ten minutes, but a last gasp McMann challenge saved the day, then McKeown headed just wide from the corner that followed.

Accies finally got a chance of their own when Darian MacKinnon’s 20-yard strike deflected wide for a corner kick, after Greg Docherty had made a strong run through the Jags centre. A second followed when Danny Redmond found Dougie Imrie in box, his shot was well saved by Tomas Cerny, and Docherty’s on target follow up was blocked wide for a corner.

Despite their efforts, the home side took an unlikely lead when the Hamilton defence switched off for a second successive corner kick, much the same as the last but with starker consequences. A corner to the back post was tapped home from close range by McKeown, after our Tomas and Sarris had collided, and if that weren’t enough, Blair Spittal was inches away from adding a second moments later.

Hamilton began to retreat and Thistle took enough heart to show a confidence that had been sorely missing from their earlier play. Fortunately, they failed to take advantage when they were on top. But they did give Hamilton enough of a run around at the back, that some last ditch defending was all that stood between Thistle and a two goal half time lead.

It took a while for the sides to get going at the start of the second half, and windy conditions didn’t help when Georgios Sarris found Antonio Rojano with a ball that split the Jags defence. The Argentinian striker shot early from wide and his attempt curled away from goal. That was to be his last action when he came off with Redmond to be replaced by Bingham and Crawford.

Bingham soon had a chance, his shot didn’t have much power, so it was left for Cerny to deal with. He saw it late, so luck was on his side when it went wide. Then a Bingham cross into the box, took a big deflection off a defender and landed nicely for Templeton on the edge of the 18-yard line. His shot was well saved by Cerny.

With just under a quarter of an hour left, Hamilton began to take control of a pretty dire second half and pushed for an equaliser. Thistle nervously held onto their narrow one goal advantage, but only just. Templeton struck a superb 30 yarder off of the cross bar, Bingham shot wide, then had another close-range effort blocked in front of the Jags goal.

After full time Georgios Sarris was cautioned for an incident leaving the field.

Thistle: Cerny, Keown, Spittal, Doolan (Sammon 85), Erskine (Storey 64), Lawless, Barton, Devine, McGinn, Edwards, Woods (McCarthy 79). Subs Unused: Scully, Nitriansky, Nisbet.

Goals: McKeown 24.

Cautions: Storey, Keown.

Accies: Woods, McMann, Tomas, Imrie (c), Docherty, Redmond (Crawford 61), Templeton, MacKinnon, Rojano (Bingham 61), Lyon (Gogic 83), Sarris. Subs Unused: Fulton, Gillespie, Donati, Cunningham.

Cautions: Redmond, Sarris

Referee: Bobby Madden. Assistants: Kylie Cockburn & Calum Spence. 4th Official: Mat Northcroft.

Attendance: 2912 (378 Accies)


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