Jags prepare for Boxing Day battle

THERE are high hopes in the Partick Thistle camp as they get set to take on Raith Rovers on Boxing Day.

Despite last Saturday’s away match against Falkirk being cancelled at the last minute due to a frozen lumpy pitch, the team has been fortunate enough to have played two league games since the big freeze set in.

This, according to assistant manager Ian Maxwell, could be crucial in deciding Sunday’s outcome.

The 35-year-old said: “Raith may be a bit rusty as they have not played for quite some time.

“We had a layoff of almost a month before our 1-1 draw against Ross County a couple of weeks ago and we could definitely feel the difference.

“We were not as match sharp for at least the first half an hour of the game.”

However the former St Johnstone player warned: “We will still have to be on our guard even if they are a bit rusty because they have had a good season so far. We expect a tough game.”

There was some suggestions that Thistle had pushed for Saturday’s game against Falkirk to be called off - as it duly was, less than an hour before kick-off, when fans were already travelling.

However, Maxwell hit back at these claims, saying the Jags were more than up for it.

He said: “This was definitely not the case. We wanted to play this match.

“The decision to postpone the match is taken by the referee and our opinion was immaterial.”

On the injury front, defender Conrad Balatoni and midfielder Chris Erskine are the only players who did not take part in Tuesday’s training season at Tory Glen.

Maxwell said: “They picked up a niggling injury in the game against Dunfermline last Tuesday.

“It’s nothing serious and they will be back to match fitness for Sunday’s game.”