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Partick Thistle




Cove Rangers



Captain Mitch Megginson was the match winner on a day of firsts as the team finally won away from home in the Championship, Paul Hartley chalked up his debut victory since returning and the side kept a clean sheet for the first time in 2023.

The manager made four changes from the Scottish Cup defeat at the hands of Ayr United and had the luxury of seven players on the bench. McClelland, Vigurs, Reynolds and Paterson dropped out, Jason Naismith returned after being cup-tied, Miko Virtanen was handed his first start, and there were recalls for Morgyn Neill and Luis Longstaff.

Our most recent signing, Gime Toure, had to be left on the sidelines as his international clearance had not been received in time for the game.

On a dull, drizzly and misty afternoon in Maryhill it was a quiet start to the match with both teams taking time to settle. Cove were first to threaten, winning a corner on the left, but when Longstaff swung the ball in, Neill could only head wide at the back post.

Out of nothing, Thistle fashioned an opening in the eleventh minute. Lawless played a pass over the top for Mullen to run on to, but Neill recovered his position quickly, and made a vital challenge in the box to prevent the striker from getting his shot away.

Connor Scully then battled to win the ball in midfield and lay it off to Dunne, who sped away from two challenges before being upended by McMillan, who was booked. Longstaff floated in the resultant free-kick, but Sneddon rose highest to clutch the ball.

We conceded a free-kick twenty-two yards out on the angle of the box which Turner whipped towards the back post, but Scott Fox was alert and pushed it wide for a corner. It would not be the goalkeeper’s last intervention of the afternoon.

Thistle then handed us a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring. An attempted pass back was way short, and Leighton McIntosh ran on to it, but with Cieran Dunne waiting for the cutback in the middle, the striker lost control of the ball and Sneddon dived on it to snuff out the danger.

Two minutes later we did take the lead.

Shay Logan fed Dunne, and the winger raced down the left touchline before firing in an inviting cross to the back post. Mitch MEGGINSON got free of his marker to direct an angled header back across the keeper, and although McIntosh might have got his foot to the ball, it was the captain who wheeled away in celebration.

The home side tried to find a way back into the game and won a free-kick thirty yards out when Logan was adjudged to have fouled Lawless. Turner rifled his effort low round the wall, but Fox dived to his left to make a fine stop, pushing the ball wide.

Harry Milne then burrowed his way into the Cove box, the ball running free for Turner who wheeled and struck a powerful shot, but Scott Fox was again equal to it, tipping over the bar.

Luis Longstaff went on a jinking run at the other end before playing a reverse pass into the path of Jason Naismith. The full back’s cross was blocked for a corner, and when Longstaff swung it in, the ball flew across the six-yard box, McIntosh only just failing to connect at the back post.

In first half stoppage time, Fitzpatrick broke free and unleashed a stinging twenty-five yard strike which brought a superb save out of Fox, the keeper clearly touching the ball wide, only for the referee to award a goal kick.

Home manager Ian McCall made a triple change at the interval in a bid to find a way back into the match, and one of them, Brian Graham, had the first effort of the half, shooting well wide from the edge of the box.

In the fifty-sixth minute Longstaff won a corner on the right which he swung in himself. Naismith rose highest to nod the ball down, but with Megginson ready to pounce, the referee penalised the full back.

Play raged up the other end and Tiffoney’s low shot was well held by Fox. Minutes later, the substitute drove into the box, but his dangerous low shot was cleared by Neill.

Thistle were piling on the pressure now and McKinnon was next to try his luck, his twenty yard volley touched over by Scott Fox.

The keeper again came to our rescue in the sixty-seventh minute. Thistle won a free-kick out on the right, Turner sent in an inch-perfect delivery, and from just a few yards out Holt powered a header goalwards, but Scott threw up his left arm and pulled off a breath-taking save.

After a minor skirmish in midfield, in which he was not directly involved, Thistle striker Brian Graham was then sent off, apparently for dissent.

As the game moved into the final ten minutes, Jason Naismith suffered a head knock in an aerial challenge with Harry Milne, and after lengthy treatment, had to leave the field.

Paul Hartley took the opportunity to freshen up the side, with Dunne and McIntosh also going off. Kyle McClelland came on at right back, Mark Reynolds slotted into what became a three man central defence, and Tony Weston was brought on to offer support up front.

After defending solidly for a large part of the half, the team got up the park, and Longstaff, Virtanen and Weston all had shots blocked in the box before Scully smashed in a volley from twenty yards which Sneddon saved on the line.

The closing stages were inevitably nervy as Thistle pushed desperately for a leveller, but the back line held firm, and the boys saw out the match for what could be a massive result.

PARTICK THISTLE: (4-2-3-1) Sneddon; McMillan (McKinnon 46), McAvoy (Muirhead 59), Holt (c), Milne; Bannigan, Hodson; Lawless (Graham 46), Turner, Fitzpatrick; Mullen (Tiffoney 46)

Substitutes: Mitchell, Brownlie, Lyon, MacKenzie


Booked: McMillan (16), McAvoy (47), Hodson (66)

Sent off: Graham (70)

COVE RANGERS: (4-2-3-1) Fox; Naismith (McClelland 82), Ross, Neill, Logan; Virtanen, Scully; Longstaff, Megginson (c), Dunne (Reynolds 82); McIntosh (Weston 82)

Substitutes: Gourlay, Vigurs, Glass, Paterson

Goalscorers: Megginson (26)

Booked: Virtanen (45), McClelland (88), Megginson (88)

Attendance: 2,450

Referee: Duncan Williams

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