How Conor Sammon became Partick Thistle’s most important player

How Conor Sammon became Partick Thistle’s most important player

By James Cairney

It’s been a difficult season for Partick Thistle so far. A dreadful start to the campaign saw the Jags rooted to the bottom of the Premiership until December, but results have begun to pick up recently. If Thistle do avoid the drop, there’s one man whose contribution won’t have gone unnoticed among the Firhill faithful. It isn’t Kris Doolan. Or even Blair Spittal.

 

No, the man whose goals are keeping Thistle in the league for now is a surprising source. Conor Sammon took a while to get going, but five goals in his last six Premiership matches has led to the on-loan striker becoming one of the league’s in-form forwards. The 31-year old has also scored three goals in two Scottish Cup games in that time – including a goal at Celtic Park.

 

We thought we’d take a look at the surprising change in fortunes for the Irishman, to try and gain a clearer insight into the remarkable run of form he’s on. The table below shows how much his goalscoring record has improved of late.

 

 

As we can see, it’s fair to say Sammon didn’t enjoy the best of starts to life at Firhill. It took him 14 appearances – or a total of 661 minutes – to find the net for his new side but it’s clear the striker is playing with added confidence since then. In fact, he’s now the top scorer for the Jags with nine goals in all competitions. For the purposes of this article, we’ll just focus on Sammon’s league form.

 

So Sammon is clearly far more clinical than he was at the start of the season. Part of the reason is that he’s taking more shots: more accurate shots too, for that matter. In his first 14 games, Sammon was averaging just 1.63 shots per 90 minutes, with only 44% on target. Now he’s hitting 2.42 shots per 90 with 67% on target.

 

 

It’s not just goals, however – Sammon has became more of a presence in the box too. The former Wigan striker averages 0.99 more touches inside the opposition box per 90 mins now than he did in the first half of the season. As well as hitting shots, Sammon is also holding up play so his teammates can get involved. And there’s one in particular who is forming an interesting partnership with Sammon.

 

Out of Sammon’s last five goals, two have been penalties and the other three have come from open play. One of those was a surging run from inside his own half, but the other two were assisted by the same player: Ryan Edwards. Between them, they have quite the skillset; Sammon is excellent at using his physicality to hold up play, while Edwards is nippy enough to make darting runs beyond the opposition defence. Sammon clearly has a knack for a killer ball – the Irishman averages 0.8 key passes per game, the third-highest rate in the Thistle squad.

 

 

Alan Archibald will be pleased that he has a forward in-form as the season reaches its climax, with every point vital in their quest to continue their five-year stay in the top flight. It’s unknown if Sammon will return to Tynecastle this summer; if he does, Thistle fans will have his goals to thank for keeping them up. Without them, Thistle would be rock bottom of the table. Archibald will hope that as long as his players keep feeding the fish, he can rely on Sammon to keep scoring.

Leave a Reply