Its been another incredible seven days for Partick Thistle. Last Wednesday in front of 8857 fans the “potential title-decider” against Morton went the Jags way with a narrow 1-0 victory.
In truth the game was not a classic, but the atmosphere was electric and the roar that went up when James Craigen scored was deafening as it was when the referee blew for full-time.
Suddenly Thistle had opened a ive point gap over their nearest rivals and still had a game in hand. It would be fair to say most of us enjoyed our beer after the game a little more knowing we had a bit more of a cushion.
To get that size of a crowd inside Firhill on a Wednesday night is testament to both sets of fans and clubs. From a Jags perspective last Wednesday will stay in the memory for a long while. Not only were the fans overjoyed you could tell by the reaction of the players at the end of the game that they realised that they were edging closer to that dream of taking Thistle back into the SPL.
The sight of a normally quiet Scott Fox running into the crowd and high fiving all the fans told us how much it meant to him.
Credit must go to the Morton fans as well for turning up in huge numbers and its a shame for their club that all those fans who came and supported them do not bother turning up every Saturday given the season they have had.
And so onto Saturday to play an Airdrie side who have been stuck at the bottom of the table for a number of weeks and conceding goals right, left and centre.
With Morton playing at home to a young Dunfermilne team who had just been stripped 15 points for going into administration the smart money would have been on two comfortable victories for the top two. It was to be anything but!!
In our last visit at Xmas to Airdrie we struggled and huffed and puffed our way to a 1-1 draw. After 88 minutes I would have bitten your hand for a 1-1 draw!!
Having conceded a soft goal from Airdrie’s only attack in the first half, Thistle contrived to miss chances and struggle to break down a stubborn Airdrie side battling not to be relegated.
With everyone in the crowd knowing that Morton were losing at home it was thought this was a chance missed. However this is a set of players at Firhill who don’t know when they’re beaten, they don’t play for 90 minutes they play until the final whistle blows.
After 89 minutes, Conrad Balatoni headed home the equaliser, the Jags fans erupted with a mixture of joy and relief. Whilst everyone around was hugging and dancing I was watching the players. No running celebrating, they just got the ball straight out the back of the net and ran back up the pitch, placing the ball on the centre-spot and getting back into formation for kick-off.
For me it’s that attitude of “we believe we can get a winner” that’s the mark of champions. That belief became reality when 87 seconds later, when Christie Elliott grabbed the winner and caused scenes of unbridled joy both in the stands and the pitch. With the news through that Morton had lost it meant that victory over Raith Rovers on Tuesday night would secure the title.
It has to be said that over the years Raith Rovers have been somewhat of a bogey team for us, but anticipation before the game was growing with most Jags fans of the opinion that with Rovers having nothing to play for, as long as the players played their normal game as they have done at home all season then it would be party time.
There was another large crowd inside Firhill on what was a very windy night. A victory and the league was ours, a draw and with the goal difference then to be honest it was ours just not quite official and we’d have to get a single point from our last three games.
As it was Rovers started very brightly and had three good chances in the first 15 minutes, before gradually Thistle got their foot in the game and played some nice stuff creating a few chances.
Into the second half Thistle totally dominated the play but could not find that all-important goal, a 0-0 draw was not the result we all hoped for and there was a sense of anti-climax at the end of the game. However nine points clear and 17 goals better off with three games to go is not to be sniffed at!
So it’s onto the Westfield Stadium in Falkirk this Saturday, in search of that single point to make it official. With Thistle expected to take through a minimum of 3000 fans it should be another cracking atmosphere and a good game, given both teams have played some good passing football this season.
This game holds a little extra incentive for me personally as I stay in Falkirk and have a few Bairns supporting mates. For me, other than Firhill, there’s no better place to win the league than Falkirk!
So Jags fans get behind the team as always and lets roar the team over the line this weekend! Mon the Jags