Stu shoots to thrill to get Jags back in black

THERE have been few thrills at Firhill so far this season as Partick Thistle have left their home crowd with little to cheer.

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Stuart Bannigan is confident Thistle will finally notch a win at Firhill in the SPFL Premiership
Stuart Bannigan is confident Thistle will finally notch a win at Firhill in the SPFL Premiership

But Stuart Bannigan is determined the Jags can raise the festive feel-good factor when they host Inverness Caley Thistle this afternoon.

Alan Archibald's side were imperious in front of the Firhill stands as they claimed the First Division title last season, but life in the SPFL Premiership has been harsh so far for Thistle as home comforts have proven hard to come by.

In seven attempts, the top-flight newcomers have yet to record a victory at their Glasgow base, with the back-to-back visits of Caley and Motherwell their latest chances to claim all three points.

Bannigan said: "Everyone keeps asking us about this home win. It will come, we just need to keep believing.

"Every weekend it seems to be that we come away with the same old story - that we're doing enough in games but not getting the results - so we need to quieten a few people.

"I get fed up talking about it. I answer the same questions over and over but we have to deal with that and do something about it. To be honest, three points today against Inverness would be the perfect Christmas present."

Thistle's poor form on home soil has been a major part of their recent slump as they have fallen down the Premiership standings after an impressive start to the campaign.

Defeat to bottom-six rivals Kilmarnock last Saturday saw them drop to tenth in the table as they prepare to round off 2013 at Firhill in the coming days.

A lack of cutting edge and some sloppy defensive errors have cost them dear, but Bannigan insists things can change quickly.

He said: "We put pressure on ourselves to do well, we know we're in a battle at the bottom as we haven't won in a while, but we've got a run of games coming up that we feel we can take points from.

"Our home record doesn't play on our minds. We feel positive going into every game, we know we've got a good team and we're happy with the way we play. We maybe just need someone to help Kris Doolan score a couple of goals.

"Survival is the key, but we want to look above us as well and aim a bit higher. We're all young boys trying to prove something, but right now we're in a battle and need to get out of that first."

While Thistle suffered another agonising defeat at the weekend as Kris Boyd struck late on at Rugby Park, Caley found themselves on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller against Aberdeen.

A second-half rally from the Highlanders went unrewarded in the end and Bannigan reckons the Premiership high-flyers will be stern opponents this afternoon.

He said: "I know John Hughes is a guy who likes to play football so it might be a bit different from under the previous manager. It will be interesting to see how their players adapt to that.

"They were 4-0 down at half-time to Aberdeen last weekend and got it back to 4-3, so it shows they've got a wee bit of fight for their new gaffer.

"I'm sure they'll be looking to get a result against us and we need to be prepared."


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