Thistle received a bye in the 1st. Round of the Scottish Cup with only 29 ties in this round.
We were listed to play Cumbernauld on the date for the 1st. round which is 23rd. September. With Cumbernauld and nine other teams from our league all coming out the hat the teams left to play tht day are Darvel, Kilsyth. Largs and Petershill . The situation is further complicated by the fact we will already have played the1st. three by the 23rd. Sept. plus there is going to be an odd team out. Be interesting to see what Mr. Robertson does.
Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Royal Albert
Central Sectional League Cup Section 1
A win today would have left Thistle only needing a home draw with Forth in their final game to progress to a lucrative home tie against Pollok. The Jags were missing six players and it left the bench looking a bit short of options with only two outfield subs but the starting eleven could have been a first choice team from last year with the exception of new boy Craig Forbes.
Thistle are now two leagues above their Larkhall rivals and for the majority of the game played like they knew it and only had to turn up to win. It was only after going a goal down that they stepped up their game and looked like they wanted to win the game.
Albert contained some early pressure fairly comfortably and eased themselves into the game as the half wore on, looking like the team more likely to score. Thistle’s best effort came from a Brian Jack lob after a poor defensive clearance.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Royal Albert 0
Albert had two penalty claims at the start of the half for handball and there could have been no real complaints if either one had been given. Their ealy pressure looked like producing a goal and so it did thirteen minutes into the second half.
Albert took a deserved lead after what Arthur Montford might have described as a stramash. Thistle conceded a needless free kick from the right back position and keeper Thomson punched the ball only as far as the penalty spot, where it was driven in from. Tommo saved but it rebounded and was fired in again on the half volley, well saved then hit back in, scrambled off the line and finally fired into the roof of the net.
Of most concern to Thistle would be the fact that there were four attempts at goal and an Albert man was quickest to the ball each time.
In fairness to the Jags players, they reacted well to the loss of the goal and set about the task of getting it back which the duly did fourteen minutes later, albeit helped by a big slice of luck.
Forbes played the ball out wide right to Josh Payne who laid it off to Graham Gracie and burst inside on a run. Gracie tried to play him in but hit the ball straight at an Albert defender who took a wild swipe and missed it altogether, allowing the ball to run into the path of Payne who curled it into the corner with a great strike.
Thistle pressed for the rest of the game and carved out a few chances, but Albert held out for a draw that to be honest was the least they deserved. If they could only reproduce that level of effort and commitment throughout the campaign they would surely be closer to the top of the league than the bottom.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Royal Albert 1
So Albert ended Thistle’s run of eight straight wins but the Jags can take some heart from the fact that they came back and didn’t actually lose the game. Wednesday’s decider against Forth is now winner takes all and is shaping up to be a cracker.
Man of the Match: Josh Payne for his effort and good finish.
Thistle opened their section league cup campaign at Lanark without Hugh Kelly suspended for first 2 games and Scott Nicol who was serving the last game of a 2 match suspension. Gary McStay was on holiday and keeper Daniel Terry injured. They were then dealt another blow when Div.Reid pulled up injured in the warm up resulting in a late re-shuffle with Matty Clarke coming into the line up.
Thistle starting confidently playing a crisp passing and moving game with both Mark Canning and Matty Clarke both testing the Lanark keeper. At this stage Lanark were struggling to cope with the jags passing game Graham Gracie then picked up a pass from Matty Clarke and drove into the Lanark penalty box electing to pass to Josh Payne who netted but the referee correctly ruled him offside. The first goal was only delayed and after a fine move involving Josh Payne and Brian Jack the final through ball put Graham Gracie in the clear and he duly netted. Billy Robb was then booked for deliberate trip on the Lanark no. 11 who at this point was looking dangerous when on the ball. The home team then had a claim for a penalty when the same player was impeded on the edge of the area but the referee deemed it outside the box with the resultant free kick being blasted against the Thistle defensive wall. Play swung to the other end with Thistle coming close with a Matty Clarke shot after good work from Craig Forbes. half time arrived with Thistle looking comfortable despite their narrow lead.
Half time Lanark United 0- Larkhall Thistle 1
Thistle started the second half strongly and went two up with another fine move involving Matty Clarke and Graham Gracie whose final ball across the six yard area was finished off by Jonny McStay to put the Jags two ahead. The game then went through a period of mid field play with neither side really threating.Lanark pulled a goal back after 60 minutes with an own goal Niall Reynolds finding his own net when attempting to clear a pass across the six yard box. This goal gave the home team a boost and Dunky freshened things up firstly replacing a tiring Matty Clarke who was starting his first game of the season after missing the friendly programme due to holidays his replacement was Mark McKeever. Ryan Innes then replaced the hard working Brian Jack as the visitors tried to get back control of the game. Stuart Thomson then had a tremendous one handed save low at his right hand post as the home team made a determined effort to get back on level terms. Graham Gracie then set up his strike partner Jonny McStay who went close his shot whistling by the post.Thistle were back in control and a fine Billy Robb chipped pass put Graham Gracie in the clear and he blasted the ball past Halford in the Lanark goal to restore the Jags two goal lead. Thistle played out the remainder of the game quite comfortably to win what is always a difficult game.
Team ; Stewart Thomson, Billy Robb,Liam Mushett, Niall Reynold, Josh Payne ,Craig Forbes , Mark Canning, Brian Jack,(Ryan Innes) Matty Clarke (Mark McKeever)
Graham Gracie, Jonny McStay
Subs. not used Div Reid, Andy Brown, Declan Doyle.
On the night all the players worked hard and there were no failures Josh Payne put in his usual shift up and down the right flank despite it being his first outing of the season as did Craig Forbes in mid field but tonight’s man of the match goes to Graham Gracie for his two goals and an assist for Jonny McStays goal.
On now to Lesmahagow on Saturday for what will be another difficult game.
Valefield Park, Kilbirnie
Kilbirnie Ladeside v Larkhall Thistle
Kilbirnie Ladeside tournament 2017
Thistle started their pre-season with what looked like it could be their most difficult game, away to Premier team Kilbirnie Ladeside. The team started on familiar lines with the addition of new signings Jonny McStay and Craig Forbes who made their debuts.
The Jags got off to a nightmare start when keeper Stewart Thomson miskicked and the home team took full advantage to go a goal up inside two minutes. Kilbirnie were nippy and fast and put the pressure on early in the game but once Thistle found their feet there was really only one team in it.
Thistle equalised after 21 minutes from an own goal, Graham Gracie swung in a good ball from the left and the Kilbirnie defender gave his keeper no chance with a header and they took the lead in 32 minutes when Liam Mushett tapped in from close range following a David Reid corner.
Things started to look bad for Kilbirnie when Reid added to the lead a minute later with a speculative effort from 25 yards that squirmed through the keeper’s hands and they must have feared the worst when Johnny McStay latched onto a though ball to run in and stroke it low into the net just on the half time whistle.
Kilbirnie have apparently had their problems with the manager and players leaving but they would have expected a bit of a revival in the second half, instead of that though it was Thistle who piled on the goals to produce what was a shock result – even given the fact it was a friendly tournament.
Forbes opened his Jags account just after the break with a tap-in after quick thinking from Mark Canning as he put an early free kick into the box.
As the rain battered down on a typical fair Saturday, the Kilbirnie fans were slipping out and matters got worse for them as McStay showed all his power and pace to latch onto a short back pass and convert.
Graham Gracie always likes a goal and was feeling very left out as his team mates racked up six of them but he got his eventually as his hard work was rewarded when he got on the end of a long ball and went past the keeper to complete the rout.
Full Time: Kilbirnie Ladeside 1 Larkhall Thistle 7
Very promising start from Thistle and signs of what might be a good partnership up front between Gracie and McStay but we’ll see how they fare in the final in what will be a good indication of where they are against another team from the Super League first division.