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Time for Thistle to grasp nettle

THE sight of a forlorn Steven Lawless picking himself up from a penalty box at Firhill was emblematic of a frustrating home campaign for Partick Thistle.

Steven Lawless feels it is only a matter of time before Partick Thistle end their long streak of home games without a victory. Picture: SNS
Steven Lawless feels it is only a matter of time before Partick Thistle end their long streak of home games without a victory. Picture: SNS

The diminutive 22-year-old had sent a diving header past the post in the 0-0 draw with Inverness Caledonian Thistle as part of what has become the traditional Thistle home performance of playing well but failing to defeat teams.

Thistle play their ninth home league in the SPFL Premier League against Motherwell tomorrow and still seek their first home win in the championship campaign.

With the Fir Park side coming off a fine away victory against Aberdeen, Lawless could be forgiven for being downbeat about Thistle's chances but the forward is positive, anticipating a good match against his former club.

"The goals will come because the boys aren't bad finishers," said Lawless. "You can go through wee spells like this. As soon as we get a wee bit of luck, maybe someone ricochets one in, I think a lot more will come. As long as we keep working hard we'll get the win sooner rather than later."

Lawless, who is a product of the Motherwell youth system, was complimentary about his former side.

"Everyone's been talking about Aberdeen and Dundee United and rightly so but Motherwell have gone about their business quietly. It's always the same with Motherwell and Stuart McCall - they always seem to be there are thereabouts at the end of the season," said the forward who joined Thistle from the Fir Park side in May 2012.

"There was a little bit of disappointment on my behalf to leave as I was there for so long. But I wanted to play first-team football and that wasn't guaranteed there. Stuart McCall was brilliant with me. He told me how things were and that I'd have to wait my chance.

'I was really unlucky in that Chris Humphreys was flying and they didn't really get any injuries. I just didn't want to take the chance of that happening again."

Lawless, instead, was rewarded with a promotion for Thistle and a regular place in the Firhill side.

"It would be a brilliant ending to the year to get one over my own team. I just want to get three points on the board and start pushing up the table as our performances merit us being a lot higher than we are. We need to focus on ourselves and, hopefully, the wins will come sooner rather than later."

Thursday's win at Pittodrie pushed McCall's side into second place but the slog of Christmas football leaves little time for reflection.

Indeed, Keith Lasley had to be informed that it was Motherwell's first victory against a top-six team this season. "It didn't really feel that way," he said. "When I first heard that stat I was a little bit surprised. "Then I started thinking about it and I thought maybe that is the case.Funnily enough we have a good record a Pittodrie and going up there wasn't something we had feared.

"We see it as a good result because of the season Aberdeen are having. I think if you look at previous seasons our record against everybody in the league was pretty sound. I can think back to Dundee United where we had to end up taking a draw when we felt we should have won it. As the season progresses it is not something we will get bogged down thinking about."

Lasley's principal aim is to remain in situ in the table, not least because of the manner in which they exited the knockout competitions, the nadir being the fourth-round defeat by Albion Rovers in the Scottish Cup, which preceded a hammering at home to Celtic.

"It was a tough period for us all but I think we have bounced back well. You can win games in different ways. We have dug in when we have had to and then we have also won by playing well. We have shown facets of our play but there is still more to come."

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