Can Partick Thistle still aim for promotion this season?

Can Partick Thistle still aim for promotion this season?

By Cammy Anderson

Alan Archibald became the third managerial casualty at this early stage of the Championship campaign as he was removed from his position following the home defeat to Ross County.

 

Archibald was removed from his position having served for five years and was among the longest serving managers in Scotland. A Thistle legend by all means having spent a total of 18 years at the club as a player and manager, he guided the club to one honour during his tenure, the 2012/13 Championship – then known as the First Division – title. Archibald also guided Partick to a sixth-place finish in the Premiership.

 

For a multitude of reasons, things just haven’t panned out as expected for Partick this season. Expected to challenge for the title from the word go, Thistle have done anything but that but there is certainly room for some optimism still.

 

 

 

What went wrong this season?

 

Partick have not only struggled when it comes to scoring goals but have also failed miserably when it comes to keeping them out.

 

They have scored the third least goals across the division with nine but have the lowest expected goals rating across the division with 5.5. They have meanwhile conceded the joint second most goals in the division with 14, only one better off than basement boys Falkirk, despite being fifth in the division when it comes to expected goals against with 9.02.

 

Their away form has left a lot to be desired too, as they have picked up a grand total of zero points on their travels and are the only club in the division without a point on the road. Indeed, it has been when they have been away from their home comforts of Firhill that they have struggled most with nine of the 14 goals they’ve conceded coming outside of Glasgow.

 

Reasons for optimism

 

While it does seem like all gloom now for Partick, there are some reasons that fans can remain optimistic. The main one being that Thistle fans can, ultimately, bear in mind that they are just two points off the promotion playoff places – albeit while still remaining eighth in the table.

 

In a league as tight as the Championship, a small run of form can catapult any side right up the table and this of course can also apply to Thistle.

 

 

Moreover, the Glasgow club still have three players in Chris Erskine, Kris Doolan and Stuart Bannigan in their side currently that were part of the side that achieved the sixth-place finish in the Premiership a few seasons back. In addition to this trio, Souleymane Coulibaly has now been cleared to play and could be the man to get Thistle on the right track, especially if he can replicate the form we saw during his spell at Kilmarnock.

 

Thistle are also making the second most passes per 90 across the division with 394.38 with a success rate of 77%. While they have been unable to turn this in to plenty of goals so far, it certainly bodes well for them knowing that they see a lot of the ball. Of the 394.38 passes per 90, 65.76 of them have been played in the final third per 90, the fourth highest rate across the division.

 

Ultimately, the season it still only in its relevant infancy. Not even a quarter of the league campaign has been played yet so there is still plenty time for Thistle to turn things around.

 

 

Other Observations

 

-Falkirk are in for a really long season. The Bairns fell to arch rivals Dunfermline Athletic over the weekend and seemed to go completely backwards from the win at Alloa Athletic the previous week. Ray McKinnon’s side did not cause the Pars any problems at all and were dominated on home soil as the visitors picked up perhaps the easiest derby win they will for a long time.

 

-Queen of the South’s Stephen Dobbie has continued his scintillating form as he scored his fourth (no, really) hat trick of the campaign in the 3-3 draw with Alloa. His goal tally now sits at 24 for the season across all competitions and he is on the verge of setting a new personal record for goals scored in a single season.

 

-Ayr have further proved that they are not just here to simply make up the numbers in the Championship. The Honest Men dispatched Dundee United 2-0 on home soil and extended their winning streak to four games in the league, the best run in the division. Ian McCall’s side have a two-point gap at the summit and could further extend that if they are to beat second placed Ross County in the next match.

 

One Reply to “Can Partick Thistle still aim for promotion this season?”

  1. Very interesting piece, Cammy. An intriguing game at Firhill tomorrow!

    Out of interest, where do you get the xG number for the Championship from?

    Cheers

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