Roughie: Jags win can spark home run

Partick Thistle must build on their first home Premiership victory over Aberdeen if they are to pull away from the play-off dogfight.

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Alan Rough is a legend at Firhill
Alan Rough is a legend at Firhill

That's the verdict of Firhill legend Alan Rough, who was between the sticks in the famous 4-1 League Cup final win over Celtic in 1971.

The shock mauling of a Dons side who are the form team in the country right now meant that Thistle finally claimed a victory on the hallowed Firhill turf at the fourteenth time of asking.

Now with three of the Jags' final five pre-split games coming in Maryhill, the former Jags and Scotland keeper has pinpointed Partick's ability to build on the demolition of the Dons as the key factor in Firhill survival hopes.

Rough, who racked up 53 Scotland caps and kept goal for Thistle between 1969 and 1982, said: "There is no doubt that the victory over Aberdeen gave everyone at Partick Thistle a huge lift. It will have relaxed the players and the support and that is very important.

"If the fans are nervy and edgy then it transmits itself on to the park and that can affect performances. But that has gone now with that excellent win over Aberdeen and, with three of their last five pre-split games at Firhill, it is vital Thistle really make home advantage count.

"But I would have to say that in recent weeks of the four teams (Kilmarnock, St Mirren and Ross County) that are in and around the relegation play-off zone, Thistle are the side that have impressed me most of late.

"Now what they have to do is go again and get a positive result against Hibs and really build on the three points they took from Aberdeen. I see no reason they can't do that."

The Firhill legend was on radio duty for PLZ Soccer at Easter Road last weekend as the Hibees, another of Rough's former clubs, shared six goals with Motherwell.

While he admits that some of the Easter Road side's defending augured well for Thistle's hopes this weekend, Roughie expects Terry Butcher to have tightened up his backline for the march on Maryhill.

The former Scotland international said: "I think Terry Butcher used the word 'criminal' to describe some of his side's defending against Motherwell at the weekend.

"But the one thing you can guarantee is that big Terry will have kicked a few backsides and that he and Maurice Malpas will make sure that Hibs have the back door firmly bolted for Firhill this weekend.

"I think the last time Hibs came to Maryhill they kept a clean sheet and won 1-0. That said, I believe Partick have become more potent since then up top.

"Certainly, the three goals they got against Aberdeen a fortnight back underlines that. So it will be very interesting to see how this one pans out."

Not surprisingly, the Jags legend had warm words of praise for keeper Paul Gallacher, who is currently keeping Scott Fox on the bench.

Roughie said: "Paul Gallacher has been excellent since he has come in and in several games has produced saves that have made all the difference for Thistle. Obviously in the Aberdeen game he saved a Barry Robson penalty and then denied Adam Rooney from the rebound.

"Paul is a vastly experienced goalkeeper and producing these type of saves at such crucial times can make the difference between a side staying up or going down at the end of a season."

Football

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