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Tom Hosie

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About Tom Hosie

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    Jags fan
  • Birthday 11/14/1968

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  1. WHAT'S GOING WRONG? The first 45 minutes at Tynecastle on Saturday were arguably the most miserable that the Thistle support has had to endure this season. And it hasn’t exactly been a season to be enjoyed any other time either. If a week is a long time in politics then a year in football is an eternity. This time last year the Thistle fans were eagerly anticipating Kris Doolan’s 100th Thistle goal as the team as a whole pressed hard for a top six finish. A Doolan double against Ross County took him to, and then past, the 100 goal mark with the 2-1 win a major factor in clinching the top six finish that was confirmed a few weeks later with a win over Motherwell. Securing the Club’s highest finish in 30 plus years was not an insignificant achievement and was a visible representation of the continued progress of the Club since probably around 2012. Fast forward 12 months and instead of trying to consolidate last season’s top six finish Thistle find themselves as the split fast approaches involved in a real scramble to avoid relegation to the Championship. So what exactly has gone wrong over the course of the last 12 months? Why do Thistle find themselves struggling so badly with relegation a distinct possibility? First thing to acknowledge is the fact that this season’s Premiership is significantly stronger than last season’s. I wrote in this very blog way back at the start of the season that repeating last season’s top six finish would be a massive challenge and a failure to do so shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a failure or as a sign of a deterioration in the quality of the Thistle squad. Indeed it was argued by many, myself included, that this season’s squad was in fact a stronger one than last season’s. To use a stronger league to explain away Thistle’s woes this season though would be to seriously misjudge the situation. The problem is much more complex than that. It is strange to be writing this article with just 8 games of the season remaining. It feels like a season that has never quite got going. It’s all been a bit stop and start with no real momentum or flow to it and Thistle’s overall displays are probably reflective of that. I’d always argue that it is important to try and add the right players to an existing squad rather than simply recruit players because they are available but the fact that Thistle didn’t complete their transfer business until relatively late on didn’t allow a bedding in period for new signings, the League Cup sectional stage would have been ideal for that. As a result it took some time to come anywhere near to establishing a preferred starting eleven and formation. Indeed as April fast approaches there is still no sense of a settled side or shape to the team. Everything about the season, fixtures and team selection alike, has felt fragmented and disjointed. Then there is the start to the season itself. Included in our first six league games of the season were fixtures against Hibs, Celtic, Aberdeen and Rangers. Now you need to face each side in the league at some stage of the season or other and we should never go into any game assuming defeat but that’s a tough start and no mistake. A poor start and the pressure is on from the very off. The above may be factors but doesn’t tell the full story though. In the first half of the season there is no doubt that injuries had a major impact on results and the non availability of so many players contributed to that fragmented and disjointed look to the team that I mentioned. All teams will suffer injuries but we were badly hit not just in numbers of players injured but probably more significantly by the fact that they all seemed to be in same area of the team. Losing both Callum Booth and Christie Elliott to injury so soon after James Penrice went out on loan to Livingston was rank bad luck and left us without a recognised left back for several months. Nor were injuries restricted to left back. As the transfer window closed we found ourselves severely lacking in the middle of the park. It can be argued that this problem was less bad luck and more to do with poor planning. We were all pleased to see Stuart Bannigan return after missing all of last season due to injury but was too much expected of him too soon? It was certainly optimistic to think he would return good as new and sure enough as September ended so too did Bannigan’s season as he again went under the surgeon’s knife. Bannigan wasn’t the only midfielder hoping to make a return to action after long term injury problems. Gary Fraser found himself in the same position as Bannigan and while he is currently playing first team football he is doing so while on loan to Morton rather than at Firhill. When Abdul Osman also found himself sidelined in the early months of the season suddenly the decision to not renew Sean Welsh’s contract, or at least adequately replace him, seemed a poor one. Although Martin Woods was signed he, understandably, struggled for full fitness and too often we were left with a central midfield partnership of Adam Barton and Ryan Edwards. Now both of those players have attributes but as a midfield combination it didn’t work offering neither little protection to the defence nor much in the way of creativity. The one bright spot in midfield this season has been the emergence of Andy McCarthy who many would rather see start than Abdul Osman who is still some way short of his best since returning from injury. While the current squad isn’t totally injury free we don’t presently appear to be any worse off in that regard than our immediate rivals. Injuries are not the reason for our current problems. Nor is Saturday’s loss at Tynecastle responsible for our present predicament. That isn’t an attempt to underplay how poor we were at the weekend but against one of the better sides in the division we could have produced a decent display and still lost. What is crippling us at the moment is our continual habit of conceding late goals. Even if you ignore all the other instances of us losing late goals just consider how different the current league table would look right now had we held on to win against Dundee and even taken a point from the away fixture with Hamilton. We would have an extra four points, Dundee three less than their current total and Hamilton two less than theirs. If we are relegated come the season’s end then those two games will stand out. The debate as to why we are so prone to losing late goals is never ending and no nearer to providing an answer. For me it’s almost a self fulfilling prophecy. We concede late goals, therefore we panic about conceding another, drop too far back and, bang, concede yet another late goal. And so it continues. I know most people will be all too glad to see the back of this season but the one good thing right now is the fact that there are still 8 games to play. There is still ample time to rectify our current position. Still time to drag ourselves up to what right now would be the lofty position of 10th in the league. There are failings in this squad but there are failings in the squads around us too. We aren’t detached at the bottom. We don’t need others to help us out. Our fate lies within our own hands. The margin for error is a fine one and we can’t afford to replicate the mistakes that so marred the first half at Tynecastle but we can get out of this position. We can be part of next season’s Premiership.
  2. 3-1. Des McKeown scored one of his very rare goals in that game. We were playing Ayr in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup on the following Saturday and Lambie fielded a rather strange side including the aforementioned Blom. I can remember that game but not more than half of last season's game. Figure that out if you can.
  3. Christmas Eve 1977. Thistle 4, Ayr United 1 with Alex O'Hara scoring a hat trick. Will be celebrating my 40th Thistle anniversary later this year. A mere novice compared to others but still a fair chunk of time. This team is the best I've seen but I'll qualify by saying that I was too young to appreciate the teams of my early years.
  4. I chatted with Robert on Facebook a few times, strangely enough never about Thistle, but I can't say that I really knew him. He was a familiar face though. In our Championship winning season he and his dad seemed to appear on the videos of every goal we scored in front stand of the North Stand that season. For that reason alone he will forever form part of the backdrop to that wonderful season. One of the things I love about Thistle is that we are a big enough club to carry a reasonable support but still small and tight knit enough for their to be a sense of family. We often don't know people away from Firhill but we share a bond with them all the same and we note their absence when we don't see them at games. It's dreadfully sad when we lose one of our Thistle family and I send much love to Robert's family and friends at this time. As is clear from this thread he will be much missed.
  5. The Hamilton manager that day was a certain J Lambie.
  6. That may well just be the standard press conference the day before a game and won't provide any great update.
  7. I don't think anyone is in fear of Formartine and, of course, a professional approach to the game should see us through with the minimum of fuss. That said it's probably worth pointing out that they are no mugs and certainly not the 'pub team' some seem to think they are. They took care of Annan in much the same fashion that Annan took care of Hamilton last season. They've got a fair sprinkling of experience in their squad and are fourth in the Highland League. They strike me as being a better side than the Culter team that took us to a replay and Cove who we beat 2-1,albeit playing with 10 men for well over half the game, the next season, . The professional approach I mention means fielding our strongest team, not experimenting with players in unfamiliar positions and not fielding Development squad players simply because we think the opposition are poor.
  8. When thinking of a potential fee you have to consider how much, Leeds, or anyone else wants him. Do they want him to walk into their first team or do they see him as potential and worth a punt in a cheap market, If the former then great especially if others are interested. If the latter then nobody is likely to pay too much or get involved in a bidding war.
  9. It's the winter break that will be giving the SPFL fear. No games for a month in the Premiership and if they are postponements either side of the break there is a danger of fixture congestion. Hence the need to reschedule the celtic came for December 20th. Of course there should have been no need at all for that game to have been re-arranged from it's original August date. Simple thing is if there is advice not to travel then a fixture should be postponed. It's a football match nothing worth risking life or limb for. You could argue that fans don't need to travel but the players and coaching staff do. They face the same weather and driving conditions as everyone else. No matter what I won't be in Dingwall tomorrow but if the game goes ahead then massive respect to every Thistle fan that travels, hopefully safely and without incident, to the game.
  10. The development of the young players was something that Archie touched on at the Q&A thing last night. He commented on how there is a big jump from the 20s to the first team. His preference is for the young players to go out on loan so their progress can be monitored playing against men, as opposed to their peers, week in week out. For some reason they couldn't get these players out on loan. He touched too on the lad Nesbitt we picked up on loan from Celtic last seasonwas. He signed him not expecting him to be able to play week in week out but because he wanted cover in place in case Lawless went to Dundee United which looked a distinct possibility at the time. He pointed out again the jump between under 20s football and first team football. Playing with Celtic's 20s Nesbitt saw a lot of the ball and didn't have to do much defending. That was part of his game that needed to develop and in part accounted for the penalty he gave away at Motherwell.
  11. Of the team that featured in the squad against Falkirk when we clinched the title McCall had brought the following players to the club: Fox Balatoni Bannigan Erskine Doolan I think he deserves some credit although the lion's share obviously goes elsewhere, in particular Archie.
  12. Not even a record for us. Eight different keepers, including an outfield player, in 7 games in season 87/88 between October 17th and November 11th. Prize of a sherbet dab for anyone sad enough to be able to name all 8.
  13. Would he not being doing that anyway as part of the media build up to Saturday?
  14. The club were 'lucky' (they still had to make the appointments after all) when McCall left that in McNamara they had a senior pro to step into the role and when he left they had Archie, senior pro and on the coaching staff, there to step in. That isn't the case now. Assuming Shaggy were to go with him it would need to be an outside appointment unless they went with Scott McKenzie even as a caretaker. A managerial appointment is always a gamble but more so when there is no obvious candidate and when the price of getting it wrong is potentially very severe.
  15. Progression gets harder and harder as we are finding out this season, a season in which our efforts aren't being helped any by a lengthy, and potentially lengthening, injury list. I desperately hope that Archie remains as our manager but we perhaps need to take a step back and take as dispassionate look at our Club as we can and try to view it from an ambitious young manager's perspective. We are enjoying our longest unbroken run in the top flight since the 1990s and prior to that the late 70s and early 80s. For a whole generation of Thistle fans this has been as good as it has been. Yet the turnout of Thistle fans at home games remains around the 2,500 mark. With tight budget controls the manager's job is always going to be to not finish lower than 10th. Okay we might finish top 6 on occasion or even win a trophy - St Johnstone are the yardstick in that respect - but at this level we are a small club and chances are at some stage the manager won't manage to finish no lower than 10th. Chances are we will at some stage be relegated. Even if that doesn't happen where does he go in Scotland to progress his career. Hearts? Aberdeen? Finish 3rd or 4th rather than 9th or 10th? If relegation follows then there's not going to be a queue to poach a relegated manager. If he leaves now Archie would leave a highly successful manager despite what any flat earth believer might tell you. He would be going to a presently struggling club granted but Burton Albion are in the Championship and I don't see why similar couldn't be a long term ambition for Shrewsbury. He might not achieve that but if he is successful there then he wouldn't be short of suitors in bigger English clubs. If he is offered the post it seems a no brainer to me to accept it. Which would leave us scrambling about to find a new manager when there is no obvious candidate inside or outside the club. Troubling times.
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