in Match Reports January 1, 2017
Alan Cochrane @ Firhill Stadium
A nil-nil draw at the fag-end of the year may sound a bit flat, but that wasn't the case for Partick or Kilmarnock today. At the end, Thistle manager Alan Archibald talked about his players being “tired and leggy” after 5 games in 15 days, and Killie boss Lee Clark talked about “having to send boys out to do a man’s job”, but both were satisfied with the day's work, and happy that they now had a chance to recharge the batteries during the mid season break.
Clark had asked Gary Dicker to anchor a 3-5-2 formation, instead of being in his usual mid-field position, and had Coulibaly and Tyson up front for the visit to Maryhill, and while the home side started the better, by the break, Killie were matching Thistle and were well in the game. Partick had the ball in the net within a couple of minutes, but were ruled offside, but for the visitors, Coulibaly and Hawkshaw had efforts that Tomas Cerny did well to deal with. Doolan, on his 300th appearance for Thistle had a shot well saved by MacDonald, and Cerny had to move back smartly to touch a Coulibaly lob over the bar.
Kilmarnock were more dominant in the second half, with Tyson, Jones and Frizzell all coming close, but Bojaj squandered the best chance of all when, at full stretch, he knocked the ball over the bar from only a couple of yards, after Coulibaly had squared from the left. A fizzing shot from skipper Stevie Smith just before the final whistle was touched over the bar by Cerny, and that meant that the points were shared.
The gaffer had had to replace Dean Hawkshaw less than an hour in with an even younger teenager in Adam Frizzell, as the conditions and recent games took their toll, and that typified Kilmarnock’s recent situation. Experienced and mature professionals, in critical positions, being unavailable due to injury, cannot be replaced by callow youth, without the cracks showing. As the boss said at the end, “"we are very depleted, a point away from home is always a good point, I'm asking young lads to do a man’s job, if you take five starting players out of any eleven, then you are going to suffer.”
Even if you can't get away to the sun, or are already basking in it, have a good new year, recharge your own batteries, and we’ll be back for the Scottish Cup in three weeks. Slainte.
Partick Thistle: Cerny, Booth, Welsh, Osman, Doolan, Erskine (McDaid), Lawless (Amoo), Barton, Elliot, Devine, Edwards (Azeez)
Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Smith, Dicker, Tyson (Jones), Adams, Coulibaly, Bojaj, Taylor, Hendrie, Hawkshaw (Frizzell), Wilson
Referee: Kevin Clancy