Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2015-16 report card - Partick Thistle

Not quite top six material
Partick Thistle FC logo.svg

LEAGUE: 9th, 46pts (2014-15 - 8th, 46pts)
SCOTTISH CUP: Fifth round
LEAGUE CUP: Second round
MOST USED FIRST XI: Tomas Cerny, Gary Miller, Liam Lindsay, Danny Seaborne, Callum Booth, Sean Welsh, Stuart Bannigan, Abdul Osman, Steven Lawless, Kris Doolan, David Amoo

OVERVIEW: Thistle just needed a draw in Dingwall to clinch a top six spot, but defeat dropped them into the bottom half and took the sting out of their season.  The fact they got so close was quite remarkable though; they had a nightmare start to the campaign, failing to win any of their first nine league games.  At the start of October they looked like relegation favourites and Alan Archibald was under fire, but if the season had started at that point they would have been fourth at the split.  Archibald largely ditched the passing style of the last two seasons, partly because of the rotten Firhill pitch and partly because Stuart Bannigan got injured, and the more pragmatic approach paid dividends.

HIGH POINTS: A four game winning streak before Christmas, including a last minute Ryan Stevenson fluke against Inverness and smashing five past Killie at Rugby Park.  Off the pitch, the success of mascot Kingsley must have brought in plenty of publicity and sponsorship

LOW POINTS: Aside from the rotten start and the narrow loss to Ross County that cost them top six, crashing 4-1 at home to ICT just after the split actually raised a few fears that they could be dragged into the playoff.

STAR MAN: The fans would say keeper Tomas Cerny, but for me it's a toss up between Kris Doolan, who played so well that he finally got a contract for more than a year, and titanic midfielder Abdul Osman, who provided plenty of midfield steel.

ONE FOR THE FUTURE: Full-back James Penrice got his chance at the end of the campaign and impressed, not least because of his outstanding set-piece deliveries.

WASTE OF SPACE: Striker Antonio German arrived in January after an impressive spell in India, but made just two sub appearances before disappearing again. 

THE BOSS: Alan Archibald does a good job of staying positive, given the financial limitations he works under and the inability of the club to keep their brightest talents.  It's hard to believe he's only 38, given he's been in charge for three full seasons.  I'd say that this was the year that he learned it was okay to compromise his ideals a bit, and it could also be argued that he had more hits than misses in the transfer market.  Thistle are in good hands going forward.

PROSPECTS FOR NEXT SEASON: The loss of Bannigan leaves them without their midfield fulcrum, and the exit of Seaborne weakens the defence considerably.  If Steven Lawless moves on too, then that's a lot of big holes to fill.  But that will always be Thistle's lot.  As ever, recruitment will be key.  And there's reason to believe a few of the youngsters can fill gaps.  It might be even harder to make the top six, but it would be a surprise if they slumped to the foot of the table.

FIRST TEAMERS DEFINITELY LEAVING: Stuart Bannigan, Jordan Leyden, Aiden Nesbitt (end of loan), Danny Seaborne

Lawrie Spence (LS) has ranted and spouted his ill-informed opinions on Narey's Toepoker since September 2007.  He has a life outside this blog.  Honestly.

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