Hard graft remains the key for Conrad to keep Jags' back door bolted

CONRAD BALATONI reckons that hard work is the only way Partick Thistle will solve their defensive conundrum.

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Conrad Balatoni admits his side will not rest until they have rectified their disappoinrting defensive record this season
Conrad Balatoni admits his side will not rest until they have rectified their disappoinrting defensive record this season

After an impressive start to the Premiership campaign, Thistle have faltered in recent weeks as they have failed to fire in Scotland's top flight.

Since beating St Mirren in August, Alan Archibald's side have won only once - the 2-1 win over Inverness Caley Thistle - in their last 11 games.

Their latest defeat against Aberdeen on Sunday as the Jags saw their Scottish Cup dreams dashed at Firhill, Andrew Considine netting the only goal of the afternoon.

After shipping four goals in the defeat at Pittodrie, three at home to the Buddies and another four away to Dundee United, Thistle's defensive line has been their Achilles heel in recent weeks.

Balatoni partnered Gabriel Piccolo at the heart of the Jags rearguard against the Dons, with midfielder Isaac Osbourne filling in at right-back.

And 22-year-old Balatoni knows that Archibald's men must stand up and be counted in order to solve their defensive dilemma.

Balatoni said: "As the manager said after the game, it is small margins. It is disappointing to lose a goal from a set piece, it is a bad goal to lose.

"Aberdeen defended well and won the game so we will need to take it on the chin.

"As a defender, you are judged on how many goals you concede and to concede as many as we have been is not good enough. All the players know that.

"The whole team is going through a rough patch just now, but we are all working hard to try and rectify things.

"I think we were a lot more solid on Sunday, Aberdeen never created a lot of chances.

"We are a work progress and we will keep working hard to make sure we get it right.

"If you look at the start of the season, we weren't conceding many goals and we had one of the best defensive records in the league.

"Now we are losing three and four goals in a game. It is disappointing and something we need to put right.

"We were a lot more solid on Sunday, but the one set-piece has cost us."

Having slipped to ninth in the Premiership standings in recent weeks, Thistle head to Easter Road on Saturday aiming to get back to winning ways and move in the right direction again.

Balatoni will miss the Capital clash following his red card in the defeat by Jackie McNamara's United a fortnight ago.

But the defender is confident the Jags can record another victory sooner rather than later.

He said: "I will be suspended for the Hibs game so hopefully the boys can do the job and get the three points.

"It is going to be a tough place to go and get a result.

"It will be Terry Butcher's first home game in charge of them so I am sure there will be a good atmosphere there.

"It is a big game and one we can look forward to, though.

"We need to start picking up wins and getting points on the board again.

"We are frustrated with the run we are on, but we are determined to bring it to an end."

Football

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