The 2016/17 season is over and, as a Partick Thistle fan, I have to say that I’m pretty proud.
Our highest league finish in 36 years and a run to the Scottish Cup quarter-finals goes down as a pretty successful one in my book, although it could have been so much better as Thistle’s bête-noire, the late goal, meant that a season that was good in itself could, selfishly, have been far better.
Here’s my take on how Thistle’s players did in the 2016/17 season, *spoiler*, we used a lot of different goalies and it fluctuates a lot given we went from turgid shite to very fucking good in the space of about three months then went on autopilot right at the end.
Tomas Cerny – 7/10
The big Czech scooped several gongs at last year’s Jags Trust Player of the Year and was a massive part of why our defence was so lean between January and April.
Despite being blighted by injury at the beginning and then at the end of the season, Cerny was massively important to the side. His absence was felt badly as we fielded four other goalkeepers in competitive games owing to his injury absences.
Ryan Scully – 3/10
Despite not playing all that much in recent seasons, Ryan has actually been at the club for nearly a decade.
He’s had to wait a long time for his moment to shine being stuck behind, in order: Jonny Tuffey, Scott Fox, Paul Gallacher and now Tomas Cerny. But he’s not all that bad, or all that good either – the real upswing in his handful of games this season was halted with a season-ending injury away at Dundee in the winter months.
Thorsten Stuckmann – 3/10
Cerny’s problems with injury and then Scully getting injured himself led to the arrival of the experienced German.
He wasn’t very good, at all. But marginally better than Bryn Halliwell bad, and that’s something that makes this Thistle fan given out a shudder, a la Sideshow Bob in Cape Feare.
Mark Ridgers – 3/10
Conceded eight goals in the one-and-a-bit games after our season, that was built on defensive strength, went into holiday mode.
David Crawford – 3/10
League Cup stopgap. Solid enough, I guess.
Ziggy Gordon – 3/10
What an absolute mugging off this was. Had done well at Hamilton and was looking to step up, to the seethe of the Hamilton fans, but only signed on a one year deal.
Obviously, such a coveted player was using us as a stepping stone for better things, which is fine, I accept we’re not massive.
This cunt ripped the piss, he was everything he wasn’t at Hamilton, defensively inept and far from solid, it was no coincidence that we had major problems down the right-hand side because his ineptitude kept pulling Danny Devine into trouble.
He was shipped out to the wonderfully named Polish side Jagiellonia Bialystock in January, where his first photo call for one of their sponsors was, genuinely, to pose with a machine gun.
So if you don’t hear from me after this, he’s got to me.
Mustapha Dumbuya – 5/10
We actually missed him so much, I’d struggle to put into words how much really.
Glad he came back into the fold for the handful of games he did after Ziggy fucked off, still it was only a handful of games after a serious injury so I have to be realistic.
Callum Booth – 5/10
This season was one of interest for the left-back. While the season saw the emergence and improvement of his other defensive colleagues, he actually went backwards.
He’s been caught out numerous times on the left flank, particularly towards the end of the season. Something I hope is rectified in the close season because an otherwise talented player is going to fall by the wayside.
Danny Devine – 7/10
We were mocked by Inverness Caley Thistle fans when he pitched up at Firhill in the summer on a two-year deal. One even laughed off the idea Devine was making a step up, as he said in his press call.
A year in and after a shaky start, Devine has been an excellent addition. Solid and composed, putting all the effort he can into creating what was an [eventually] effective defensive trio which composed of him, loanee Niall Keown and the golden boy, Liam Lindsay.
I’m not clued up on who is getting a game at the back for Northern Ireland but if Devine continues his improvement then he surely can’t be ignored much longer.
Niall Keown – 8/10
There’s been a trend recently of players, particularly young ones, coming up here on loan from England to get their feet wet, to speak metaphorically.
Some of them are utter dog shit but sometimes they’re a home run – Niall fell into the latter.
A cool and composed defender, Niall was an excellent acquisition from Reading in January. A supremely talented, level-headed young man, the son of legendary Arsenal defender Martin, he proved that defensive nous was certainly genetic.
On top of that, he was always impeccably turned out, shirt always tucked in, socks at the right height, a proper respectable gent of a footballer while also being bloody good at his job.
Liam Lindsay – 8/10
The show stopper, the main event, the icon that can still go. At 21 years old, Liam Lindsay is on the cusp of greatness, I’m absolutely certain.
He has everything you want in a modern centre half. He has pace, he has strength, he has a great leap – and a great eye for goal. From centre half, Liam banged in six goals in a Thistle team that struggled to score many this season – some of them better than what our attackers could achieve.
He’s not going to be with us much longer, especially if he keeps up this remarkable upward trajectory. I just hope we get the best possible fee when that day of him leaving comes.
David Syme – 2/10
Signed from Killie and believed to be of great promise, David never made a league appearance for us. He was shipped out in January, joining Raith Rovers permanently – at the time managed by Gary Locke, who was subsequently sacked and then took him on loan from Raith to his new charges Cowdenbeath.
He played in the League 2 playoff against East Kilbride and played well, not sure if he’ll be a case of “one that got away” though.
Abdul Osman – 7/10
Captain for a second year in a row now, Thistle’s lord of the dance [check his Instagram] has been more than capable yet again. He formed a formidable partnership in the engine room with Adam Barton, whose godliness we will get to shortly.
Likes to take his time getting up after getting hit, which wound up Dundee fans to no end in a 1-0 defeat to us at Dens in early 2017. That kind of thing is something we’ve lacked a bit of at times, a bit of dickishness. Heel tactics, to borrow a wrestling expression [again].
Adam Barton – 9/10
This guy. This fucking guy. Signed from Portsmouth early in the season for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal – a big thing for us given we were only handing out one, sometimes two-year deals, exclusively in the last two summer windows.
This big handsome bugger was more than worth it but, like Danny Devine, he had a rocky start until he evolved into a colossus, one of the best players I’ve seen at Firhill in my decade of being a season ticket holder. He absolutely strolled through most of his games and deservedly collected player of the year. I’d knock back Margot Robbie for a night with Adam Barton.
Christie Elliott – 7/10
I’ve put him down here as a midfielder, which is what he’s actually meant to be, but in reality Christie Elliott has shown this season he can do fucking anything.
He’s deputised this season in defence and attack, as well as playing in his usual position on the right wing.
Mr. Versatile has been an unsung hero in the last two seasons due to his versatility. He’s someone I wasn’t sure of was progressing at this level but he has now and deserved his extended contract until 2019.
Sean Welsh – 6
Chances are, if you look up misfortune in the dictionary, Sean Welsh’s picture from this season’s team photo will be right beside it as an aid. Of all the ones who came up as a part of the promotion squad, Welshy’s been shit out of luck the most.
Injuries have dogged his time with us, particularly since promotion. He was out for 18 months after playing in our first ten league games back in the Premiership in 2013/14 and was then out injured again not long after that return. This season he was a key catalyst in our push from the foot of the table to the top six, showing he was every bit the midfield dynamo we recalled in the 2012/13 ‘We Got This’ side.
But it was short-lived, another injury put him out for the season and he was, sadly, for the better of his career I think, he was released. He’ll have no bother getting a decent club.
Declan McDaid – 3/10
Another one of those young ones who just couldn’t make it. Talented enough boy who received a rather, ahem, controversial welcome onto the turf at Ibrox in our 2-0 defeat there in October. But enough about that, a loan spell with Cowden didn’t work out last year and he didn’t improve much more this season when he played. He was shipped out to Ayr in January where he’ll probably be much better.
Andrew McCarthy – 5/10
Impressive young man who came into the fold away at Celtic Park and done very well, according to reports he marshalled Scott Brown excellently – not bad when you’re barely 19. Has a lot of potential to succeed in the handful of games he’s played, certainly on the right track, but then so was David Wilson.
Ryan Edwards – 7/10
Handsome Ryan has been one of Archie’s better recruits in recent seasons. He started off foul in his early days but, like so many before him, has recovered to become an important part of the squad.
Has been up and down this season, much like Gary Harkins was back in his pomp for us, consistently inconsistent but just about more ups than downs. He did miss far too many chances bursting forward, particularly against Rangers which ended up costing us points.
Stevie Lawless – 6/10
Stevie is another one who has bother, for me, with his consistency. When he’s good, he’s absolutely terrific. Towards the end of this season he was one of our star performers, particularly against Hearts at Tynecastle where he ran the show.
He’s a huge asset to the club, now in his peak years, he has to kick on [horrible football cliché klaxon] and he’ll be a very good winger for the level we’re at.
Chris Erskine – 7/10
The returning hero, the messiah, the squid. When it was announced he was returning from Dundee United on a pre-contract in January of last year, it’s fair to say there was a large degree of Thistle fans who were buzzing right out their tits. Me included.
Erskine’s season, however, was dogged by injury problems but his influence was still widely felt. He was the heartbeat of what was at the time a floundering side, abundantly clear he was still capable of causing problems for teams despite his problems with fitness.
Still, it was far from a failure for him as he notched nine goals in all competitions.
David Wilson – 1/10
One sub appearance, loaned to Stranraer then finally binned. A prospect who never made the grade.
David Amoo – 3/10
I mentioned that Callum Booth had regressed this season, Amoo did too but his decline was a far steeper one. Terrible this season.
Ross Fleming – N/A
One of the top performers in our development squad this season, made a cameo appearance in the last day “match” with Aberdeen.
Kris Doolan – 10/10
I could go on and one about him forever if given the chance. This guy is a Thistle treasure.
He’s gone from a young Junior attacker to one of the more consistent strikers in the Scottish Premiership, hitting 48 goals for Thistle in the top flight and this season passed the 100-goal milestone for the club. He’s thirteen goals off our all-time top five goal scorers – and I wouldn’t put it past him getting that landmark next season. Even at 30, he appears to be getting more and more consistent.
Ade Azeez – 4/10
Ade hasn’t been atrocious, I must make that clear.
In fact, his overall contribution to the team hasn’t been all that bad in terms of his tactical side, but you sign a striker to score goals and Ade only managed 4 across all competitions.
His general attacking sense wasn’t bad, he gave defenders a hard time, but he couldn’t finish a fish supper.
Kevin Nisbet – 2/10
Another talented youngster who has not transferred his potential to the first team like Liam Lindsay has done and, from the early signs, Andy McCarthy has begun doing.
He’s still under contract for another year so maybe he’ll be loaned out – preferably for the whole season, to try and make something of his fledgling career and ensure he doesn’t flop.
Mathias Pogba – 1/10
Last season he was pretty shite, this season he hadn’t improved and was out the door to the Dutch top flight and Sparta Rotterdam.
Only newsworthy thing about him in this season was his brother Florentin came to watch him play against Queen of the South in the League Cup group stages.
Neil McLaughlin – N/A
Cameo appearance in the final game of the season, did score 20+ goals for the Development Squad so there is potential there.
Jason Banton – 0/10
Why the fuck did we sign him? It smacked of just desperation to grab some striker on loan just in case. We never even put him on the bench.
Archie’s made some right pish signings, especially up front in the last couple of seasons, but this guy is the most baffling.
I was convinced he was dead because he had his photo taken with the shirt and that but wasn’t seen again until I noticed he commented on something on Abdul Osman’s Instagram.
At least Antonio German got game time before we launched him back to the Indian League from whence he came.
Ratings by Marc Wallace, I tried to keep this a mix of honest, sensible assessment and the uncensored truth. I like to think I’ve succeeded.