Joel Sked breaks down the season thus far for every team in our series of Ladbrokes Premiership mid-term report cards.
Similar to Hamilton, their performances are not represented by their points total. The switch to a 3-5-2 has brought out the best in numerous individuals, giving Thistle a flexibility to their play and different angles in attack. Recently they have looked like a team with ambitions higher up the league rather than worrying what is behind. They were the better side in a draw at Hearts, frustrated Celtic at Celtic Park before wins against Dundee and Ross County and a draw with Killie.
Again, similar to Hamilton they have dropped too many silly points. Concession of goals in the last 15 minutes of games at Firhill has cost the Jags 10 points. That coupled with Ade Azeez’s finishing has hampered Thistle’s bid for the top-six.
Stuart Bannigan’s injury has allowed Sean Welsh to take on more responsibility in the middle of midfield, while Ryan Edwards has been a revelation linking midfield and attack with industrious performances. Callum Booth has shown why his best position is left-wing back, possessing a mean cross. Liam Lindsay continues to develop apace in defence and Adam Barton has been a classy signing for the backline, acting as the side’s libero.
If it was the training programme on Football Manager, Azeez would be doing finishing and nothing else. His fine, athletic all-round play has been let down by his inability to finish simple one-v-one chances. Thistle ran a campaign with Kingsley that they were ‘not so cuddly anymore’. The team needs to develop a mean side to see out games.
While they may only be one and two points above Motherwell and Kilmarnock respectively, they have shown a promise and quality which the others have not. A top six finish is a realistic aim.