Balatoni: Heads are down but chins must come up if we're to survive

CONRAD BALATONI today admitted the Partick Thistle dressing room was 'devastated' in the aftermath of their Fir Park collapse on Saturday.

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Jags' Conrad Balatoni was "devastated" at their Fir Park collapse on Saturday against Motherwell
Jags' Conrad Balatoni was "devastated" at their Fir Park collapse on Saturday against Motherwell

The Jags blew a 3-2 lead inside the final few minutes as Stuart McCall's side grabbed a dramatic 4-3 win to extend Thistle's recent poor form.

Alan Archibald's side are 11th in the SPFL Premiership standings and have won just once in their last 17 top-flight fixtures as a number of points have slipped away.

And Balatoni knows the Jags cannot afford to let their habit of conceding late goals continue if they are to stay in elite company next season.

He said: "We were looking to hold on and get the win on Saturday but it didn't happen.

"We have had a long chat about it and we know we need to see games out. We want to rectify the problem quickly.

"We have been in this league long enough to know what needs done.

"It is not just the Motherwell game, there have been a lot of matches where we have lost late goals and it has cost us dearly this season.

"We need to do better in the closing stages of matches and see games out better. We need to be more streetwise, especially if we are only a goal up.

"Fir Park is a difficult place to go and we would have taken a point before the game. But we got ourselves 3-2 in front and when it went back to 3-3 we had to hold out for a point.

"To then lose the game, the dressing room was devastated afterwards."

After throwing away yet another promising position, Thistle must quickly pick themselves up with Aberdeen visiting on Saturday.

While the Jags have struggled to pick up points in recent weeks, Derek McInnes' side are one of Scotland's form teams.

And Balatoni is eager to enjoy a Firhill feel-good factor and keep spirits high.

He said: "We can't afford to let it affect us and our confidence. The gaffer and Scott Paterson are good at raising our mood and getting us focused again.

"We were all down on Saturday night and it is a tough weekend when things like that happen. But when we come in on a Monday, the gaffer and Scott Paterson want our heads to be up. There is always a big game the next week and we know that every game is going to be huge for us.

"We need to start picking up points and the only way we are going to do that is if we are confident in ourselves."

Thistle have lost all three of their meetings with Aberdeen so far this season, shipping eight goals without reply in their hat-trick of Premiership and William Hill Scottish Cup clashes.

The Pittodrie side are favourites to finish best of the rest behind Celtic this term and Balatoni is determined to halt the Dons in their tracks.

He said: "Good form has always got to come to an end, as does bad form.

"Hopefully we can stamp our authority on the match early on, take the game to them and play the way we like to play.

"We need to get the three points and our first home win of the season. It would be a big weight off our shoulders if we could do that.

"We know Aberdeen are a good side, they are big and experienced and have players that have played with good teams at a high level.

"We have shown that we can, on our day, match anyone. We are fighting for our lives."

Football

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