Partick Thistle 2 - 0 Inverness CT

League Match
Saturday, August 6th, 2016, 3:00 PM at Firhill, Glasgow
Attendance: 2,943
Referee: Nick Walsh
Partick Thistle Inverness CT

Goalscorers
Christopher Erskine (36)
David Amoo (60)
None.

Team Managers
Alan Archibald Richie Foran

Starting Eleven
Tomas Cerny
Callum Booth
Liam Lindsay
Danny Devine
Zygmunt Gordon
Sean Welsh
Abdul Osman
David Amoo
Christopher Erskine
Steven Lawless
Kris Doolan
Owain Fon Williams
Gary Warren
David Raven
Carl Tremarco
Kevin McNaughton
Iain Vigurs
Liam Polworth
Greg Tansey
Jake Mulraney
Scott Boden
Billy King

Bench
Ryan Scully
Adebayo Azeez
David Wilson
Ryan Edwards
Declan McDaid
David Syme
Mathias Pogba
Cameron Mackay
Aaron Doran
Ross Draper
Jason Brown
Alasdair Sutherland
Lewis Horner
Alex Fisher

Substitutions
Ryan Edwards -> Christopher Erskine (72)
Adebayo Azeez -> Liam Lindsay (78)
Ross Draper for Jake Mulraney (66)
Alex Fisher for Iain Vigurs (76)

Bookings
Zygmunt Gordon (5)
David Amoo (24)
Liam Polworth (69)

Red Cards
None. None.
Appearances & Goals To Date
Owain Fon Williams (GK) 49 apps -
Kevin McNaughton 5 apps -
Gary Warren 156 apps13 goals
Carl Tremarco 79 apps5 goals
David Raven 144 apps3 goals
Iain Vigurs 66 apps15 goals
Liam Polworth 81 apps7 goals
Jake Mulraney 5 apps -
Greg Tansey 152 apps25 goals
Billy King 5 apps2 goals
Scott Boden 5 apps4 goals
Ross Draper (sub) 164 apps13 goals
Alex Fisher (sub) 7 apps -

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Jake Mulraney (20 years 128 days)
Oldest Player:Scott Boden (2018 years 9 days)
Average Player Age:27 years 267 days
Domestic Players:6 (54.55 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Cameron Mackay (16 years 245 days)
Oldest Player:Scott Boden (2018 years 9 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 95 days
Domestic Players:11 (61.11 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts

Milestones

What is it with Partick Thistle?

Richie Foran's side lost their first big test going down 2-0 at Partick in the seasons opener after a rather insipid display which disappointed the away support given the promise offered in the League Cup showing, where goals were in abundance.

Goals in either half from Chris Erskine and David Amoo were enough to give Partick the points as Inverness rarely threatened and they can have no complaints about the three points staying in Glasgow.

Alternative Maryhill was on hand to witness Foran's first Firhill visit as manager.

New season, new manager, new signings, same old story for Inverness Caley Thistle at Firhill. This was a disappointing season-opener that showed, once again, that there are few managers better than Alan Archibald at setting up his teams to contain and nullify the ICT threat, and provided a useful reminder to those of us buoyed with enthusiasm after the last two Betfred Cup Games that there is a significant difference between lower-league and Premiership sides, that even the most promising new signings will need time to adjust to their new surroundings and new opponents, and that we should probably temper our more extravagant predictions about top-three or top-two finishes.

Richie Foran opted to continue with the starting line-up that had beaten Dunfermline and Arbroath so convincingly, which meant a back five of Fon Williams, Raven, McNaughton, Warren and Tremarco, Polworth and Tansey in the centre of midfield with Mulraney and King on the wings, and Vigurs playing an advanced midfield role behind the lone striker Boden. The decision to continue with a winning side was understandable, but the consequent omission of Ross Draper, a player proven to be highly comfortable and effective at this level, probably contributed to Caley Thistle’s inability to seize control of this match at any point. Draper took a place on the bench, alongside Aaron Doran.

The opening ten minutes set the tone for much of what was to follow: rather than taking the game to the ICT players, Partick seemed content to allow them possession, but closed down and marshalled attackers very effectively whenever they got into the final third, doubling up on Mulraney to make it difficult for him to exert any influence, and maintaining a solid back line that restricted Caley Thistle, in the main, to shots from distance. An early example of this was when King cut in from the left and fired a shot a couple of feet over from about twenty yards out; later in the half Mulraney gained a rare bit of space and made a similar attempt coming in from the opposite wing, but his shot ballooned high over. It also became clear in the opening exchanges that this was going to be a stop-start game characterised by niggly fouls, not all of which would have been given by a less whistle-happy referee than Nick Walsh.

On twenty-four minutes, ICT were given one of their best opportunities of the half when Billy King was brought down on the edge of the box after a tricky run at the Partick defence. In attempting to place the ball to the left of the keeper, however, Greg Tansey succeeded only in sending it off the wall for a corner, which was dealt with well by the Glasgow side. Partick then had their own chance when Liam Lindsay got on the end of a David Amoo free kick into the Caley Thistle penalty area, but his downward header went wide of Owain Fon Williams’ right hand post.

The opening goal came during a period where ICT had enjoyed one of their best spells of possession without being able to do much with it, and while the goal was an excellent example of fluid counter-attacking football, it also raised questions about the Inverness players’ willingness or ability to get close to and close down their opponents as effectively as the Partick players were able to do. During the slick passing move that culminated in Chris Erskine receiving Steven Lawless’ pass on the right-hand corner of the ICT penalty area and bending a fine left-foot shot past Fon Williams, Vigurs, Raven, Polworth and McNaughton all failed to challenge effectively, either diving in too late or not committing at all. Obviously this will happen at times throughout the season, but it was a little worrying to see the team cut open quite so easily by a side that hadn’t looked particularly threatening going forward, and is something that the manager must hope can be tightened up before his players come up against faster and trickier teams.

As half time approached, Caley Thistle had a couple of half-chances to even up the scoreline. A diagonal ball from Liam Polworth found Boden approaching the right-hand corner of the penalty area, but the ICT striker sent a weak shot across the goal and well wide. A few moments later, Iain Vigurs worked space on the left hand edge of the area, but instead of shooting elected to play in Tremarco, who seemed to stumble and failed to make meaningful contact with the ball.

HT: Partick Thistle 1 - Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0

The second half started similarly to the first, with Caley Thistle allowed plenty of the ball but unable to make their possession count, despite winning six free kicks in the opening ten minutes of the half. The best effort for ICT during this period was a shot from twenty yards by Greg Tansey, after being played in by Liam Polworth, which flew wide of the Partick keeper’s right hand post. Caley Thistle’s frustration began to show, with Polworth getting agitated over the referee’s failure to book one of the Partick players after yet another foul, and it was perhaps this frustration, coupled with having been robbed of possession far too easily, which led to Iain Vigurs’ unnecessarily clumsy challenge on Sean Welsh, and thus to the goal which finished the match as a contest. Welsh took the free kick himself, floating it over the ICT defence towards the head of Abdul Osman. His header back into the Caley Thistle penalty area was helped on by Liam Lindsay, and David Amoo forced the ball over the line from a yard out, with the Inverness defenders outmuscled and floundering.

Foran gave his chosen starting eleven five more minutes to try to play themselves back into the match before making his first change. Perhaps a little surprisingly, although he had had a largely ineffective afternoon, it was Jake Mulraney who made way for Ross Draper, with Polworth taking up Mulraney’s berth on the right wing. Draper’s commitment to the cause was exemplified by a thunderous fifty-fifty challenge with Liam Lindsay which led to the Partick player having to be substituted, but this change, and the subsequent appearance of Fisher for Vigurs, did little to improve the Caley Thistle performance and nothing to influence the eventual result. If anything, the final half hour was ICT’s least effective or urgent passage of play, despite being in a position where they should have been chasing the game, with a weak Vigurs shot and a Fisher header that was easily saved being the only chances of note. In the end, Partick Thistle comfortably deserved the victory for their superior defensive organisation and their more clinical play going forward.

FT: Partick Thistle 2 - Inverness Caledonian Thistle 0

The post-match comments from Richie Foran struck the right note, acknowledging the disappointingly flat nature of the team’s attacking play while vowing to remain patient and praising the players for their commitment so far. However, with two important games to come this week, against in-form Alloa in the Betfred Cup, and then against local rivals Ross County, who had a similarly disappointing league curtain-raiser yesterday, it will be interesting to see what sort of response Foran gets from his players and whether he will make immediate changes to his starting line-up. One thing is clear: it is far, far too early to make any meaningful predictions, whether they are of glorious success or impending doom.

Match report written by Alternative Maryhill



Pld W D L F A +/- Pts
1. Dundee 1 1 0 0 3 1 2 3
2. Partick Thistle 1 1 0 0 2 0 2 3
3. Motherwell 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 3
4. Hamilton Academical 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
5. Rangers 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1
6. Kilmarnock 1 0 0 1 1 2 -1 0
7. Ross County 1 0 0 1 1 3 -2 0
8. Inverness CT 1 0 0 1 0 2 -2 0