|Partick Thistle FC: hospitable.|
Last night, I made a guest appearance on the Jagscast podcast before attending Partick Thistle’s 4-2 victory over Ayr United at Firhill. Jagscast is a Thistle supporters’ fanzine and one of the best Scottish football blogs available online. Erudite, insightful and quietly humorous, it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the lower echelons of the SFL and ranks highly alongside the likes of Ross County Tactics and the defunct (and much-missed) Gable End Graffiti (and Who the hell is Akabusi?, of course).
Given the Jags are currently exploring the viability of installing a plastic pitch at Firhill and that Ochilview has recently become somewhat of a retirement home for former Thistle players before they’re finally melted down into glue (manager Davie Irons enjoyed spells at Partick Thistle as a player and as a coach, while almost a third of the current Stenhousemuir squad have connections with Firhill club: Eric Paton, Stevie Murray, Kevin McKinlay, Martyn Corrigan and Brown Ferguson are all erstwhile Jags, while midfielder Jamie Campbell is on-loan from Thistle until the end of the year), I was invited to appear on their weekly podcast and offer my "expert opinion" on both topics.
Instead of attending Stenhousemuir’s match against Brechin City (not only had I made plans to appear on the podcast, it was also logistically bothersome for me to have travelled to Glebe Park) I met with host Vinnie Ferguson and his wily troupe of regular contributors outside the ground before kick-off and after exchanging handshakes, we made our way to a small room tucked away at the back of the Jackie Husband Stand to record. There were children’s toys scattered around the room (one of the games that caught my attention was “Who’s Who?”, Asda’s thinly-disguised attempt to ape Hasbro’s popular Guess Who). Huddled around Vinnie’s mobile phone, we spoke our brains for half an hour before taking our seats in the stand.
The first half, in truth, was fairly abject. Other than Ayr's opening goal and the brief flashes of attacking flair from Michael Moffat and Michael McGowan, there was very little entertainment on show. It was also very, very cold. The rain swirled and bellowed across the pitch and on a number of occasions, blew into the stand, soaking those sitting closest to the pitch. Midway through the game, the same supporters moved en masse towards the back of the stand. Chewing on a Mars Bar at the interval, I rued my failure to bring a second pair of socks.
The second half was far more enterprising. Ayr United failed to build on their promising first half performance and sat deep, attempting to defend their lead and contain their hosts. They started the half far too narrow, and this allowed fullbacks Stephen O’Donnell and Aaron Sinclair to push forward and offer attractive attacking options on either flank, while midfielder David Rowson began to find teammates in promising pockets of space with some neat passes and with the hour mark approaching, Kris Doolan equalised with a snapshot from the edge of the area. The striker added a second ten minutes later with a deft, looping header before Paul Cairney’s penalty increased the home side’s advantage. McGowan crashed in a second goal for Ayr in the final minute but Cairney's assured finish in stoppage time ensured a fine Thistle win.
After the match, I converged on the concourse at the back of the stand with the rest of the podcast contributors. When pressed for my opinion on the game, I declared that Aaron Sinclair should have been voted Man of the Match and made a ludicrous comparison between the former Montrose fullback and former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira. Dear me.
Walking home last night, I was worried I had sounded like a massive twat. Having listened to the podcast this evening, I’m delighted to hear I just sound like a bit of a twat.
Follow Jagscast on Twitter here.
Follow their charasmatic, David Koresh-like leader Vinnie Ferguson on Twitter here.