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Five Star Show from Thistle

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If this is what Friday night football is all about, give me more of the same please!

The biggest league crowd of the season (3,380) turned up at Firhill even when the heavens opened and the rain was non stop all night-this says a lot for the fans who wanted to be part of the Friday night experience against the league leaders Morton.

Partick Thistle manager Jackie McNamara, gave a first start to Stephen O’Donnell leaving Chris Erskine on the bench and what an inspired decision that proved to be!

As the old saying goes if Carlsberg made debuts and Friday nights then in the eyes of the Thistle fans, this would be how they would want them!

The game started at an incredible pace with the home side taking the lead with only two minutes of the match played and it was young Stephen O’Donnell who raced on to a through ball before sliding the ball into the corner of the net past the helpless Stewart in the Morton goal.

Thistle did not have long to dwell on their one goal advantage as Morton found their feet in the match and tested Fox in the Thistle goal as the keeper had to look smart to grab the ball from the feet of Peter MacDonald and then soon after make a driving save from the same player.

Even at an early stage in the match you could see that young O’Donnell was relishing his first start for the Jags, his play and movement was simply a joy to watch and indeed he almost created a second goal for the Jags after Christie Elliot dummied the ball to give him time to run and cross into the Morton penalty area but there was no takers for the Jags to end the move.

Morton had looked dangerous also but they shot themselves in the foot after the lively O’Donnell broke up a Morton attack and he played an inch perfect pass to Kris Doolan who found the corner of the net to make it 2-0 for the Jags.

The Firhill faithful could not have wished for a better start to there night and indeed their night and weekend was soon to get a whole lot better!

Morton tried to get back into the match before the end of this pulsating first half but anything they could muster – efforts from Graham and Jackson did not even warrant a save from Fox and the home side could go in at the break with a two goal advantage.

But just like the first half when the home side took an early advantage, Morton could and possibly should have been able to pull a goal back when Peter MacDonald found himself with time and space in the Thistle box but his shot was weak and never caused Fox in the Thistle goal any real danger.

The visitors sensed that they had the Jags on the ropes for a spell but they just could not take their chances.

Andy Jackson blasted high and wide after Kyle Hutton slipped on the wet surface when he really should have done better.

Allan Moore’s men had now started to get a grip on the match and started to create more chances but again Andy Graham’s header went wide and Andy Jackson did have the ball in the net but it was disallowed correctly by the Assistant Referee (Lorraine Clark) much to the delight of the Jags fans.

This was maybe a wake up call for the home side as they then tried to turn the screw and create a few more chances of their own to try to kill the game off.

Christie Elliot almost provided it after his header went wide after a Paul Cairney cross.

Thistle looked to their inspiration on the night, Stephen O’Donnell to try to seal the game for them and he almost did, had it not been for a smart save from Colin Stewart who turned his shot round the post for a corner.

Just when it was looking as if either side could grab the next goal, Morton handed Thistle an advantage when Andy Graham somehow handed a long ball at the edge of the box and Referee Craig Charleston had no option but to give the Morton man a red card.

The resulting free-kick was touched into the path of another exciting young talent at Firhill, the ex Montrose defender Aaron Sinclair who’s shot was deflected into the path of Christie Elliot who made Morton pay as he put the Jags 3-0 up.

The Maryhill side were now in full flow and almost added a fourth through Elliot again but this time Stewart in the Morton goal made a good save to deny the Jags man.

But with eight minutes left on the clock Thistle did add a fourth goal when the impressive Aaron Sinclair made another rampaging run up the wing before sending over a cross which was just missed by Elliot but Chris Erskine took a touch and drove the ball low into the bottom left hand corner to increase the Jags lead and also send the Thistle fans wild with delight!

The Jags now had Morton on the ropes and went looking for number five and both Chris Erskine and Paul Cairney did have chances but Stewart in the Morton goal was doing all he could to stop the home side from adding to their tally.

The fans were now giving every move and every pass an “ole” such was the performance which was indeed a joy to watch and with only minutes left on the clock they had even more reason to celebrate when Tommy Stewart ended the scoring with a neat finish after another great passing move from the Jags to give the home side an incredible 5-0 win over the league leaders.

Partick: Fox, Paton, Balatoni, Archibald, Sinclair, Cairney, Rowson (Bannigan 83), Hutton, O’Donnell (Erskine 78), Elliot, Doolan (Stewart 69).
Subs Not Used: Scully, Lindsay.

Morton: Stewart, McCann, Graham, Evans (McGeouch 32), Forsyth, Fitzharris (Di Giacomo 46), Smyth, Bachirou, O’Brien ( Campbell 59), MacDonald, Jackson.
Subs Not Used: McGinley, Weatherson.

Att: 3,380
Ref: Craig Charleston

Match Photos by Liam McFadden

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About Author

Chief Features Writer for Scotzine.com. Sean has written for various publications and websites over the years and has been involved with making documentaries on Aberdeen Football Club, Dundee United Football Club, Henrik Larsson, Paul Lambert and Jock Stein and also Radio programmes, one of which "Old Firm Day" won a Bronze Sony Award. He also worked in the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park. His love of writing started off with The Punter and has gone on to write for the following FIFA magazine, 442, Scotland's Oracle, Players Inc, British Football Week, ESPN, Give Me Football, Inside Futbol, 67 Fanzine and the matchday programmes of Aberdeen, Carlisle United, Montrose, Partick Thistle, Stockport County and Queen's Park. He has also been asked to write a blog for Youth Football Scotland on St.Mirren YFC such was his passion for football at every level from Grassroots to the professional game.

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