IF you had a quick glance at this season’s scoring stats for the strikers turning out for Partick Thistle and Queen of the South today, there is no contest as to who is more integral to their side’s success.
But football, as it is often said, isn’t played on paper, and Cammy Bell certainly knows that the solitary goal to Thistle talisman Kris Doolan’s name this season gives no indication to the threat he will pose to the opposition at Firhill this afternoon.
He believes that club legend Doolan is every bit as vital to Thistle as Stephen Dobbie is to the visitors, despite his old friend from his days at Palmerston bagging an incredible 20 goals already this term.
If Doolan is to do out-gun Dobbie today though, Bell knows it will have as much to do with how both he and the Thistle defenders go about nullifying the red-hot Dobbie as it does with Thistle’s number nine rediscovering his scoring touch after getting off the mark at Inverness last weekend.
“I played with Stephen when I was on loan at Queen of the South, so I know him pretty well,” Bell said.
“It was 10 years ago now, but he was a top finisher then and went down in Swansea and had a great career in the English leagues.
“He’s come back up the road to a club that he loves, and they love him as well, so it’s a match made in heaven for those two.
“He performs every week and he’s a top professional. He’s started the season brilliantly and it’s incredible that he has 20 goals in September.
“In this league he has shown that he can do it year-in, year-out, and it doesn’t surprise me that he’s hit so many goals already this season.
“He is an unbelievable finisher and he’s done it throughout his career. He guarantees you goals and he’s a real top player for them. They’ve started the season really well too, so it’s going to be a real tough game for us on Saturday again. Every week is a tough task in this league though.
“We have to concentrate on what we can do though rather than worrying too much about Stephen, and I think that Dools can be a real threat for us. The goal last week was just what he needed.
“He scored the infamous ‘ghost goal’ of course [against Morton], and that was disappointing that he never got that, but he has the monkey off his back now and I fully expect Dools to go on and be a real force for us up front and get us the goals we need. He’s every bit as important for us as Dobes is for Queens.”
Bell is glad that this weekend’s match is at home, where Thistle’s have a 100% record from their two league fixtures so far this season, rather than away from home where they have lost all three.
He doesn’t think it is fair though that manager Alan Archibald has taken stick for their dreadful away form, because the root of those defeats has almost always been the players losing concentration at vital moments.
“Looking back at our defeats, it’s really decision making and individual errors that have cost us,” he said. “Those are tough things to rectify, it’s down to individuals to cut those out, there’s nothing really that the manager can do.
“We work on shape all week long, but if someone makes an individual error after one minute then it completely changes the complex of the game.
“We need to give ourselves an opportunity to be in games away from home, because in this league, getting a point even on the road isn’t the worst thing.
“If we can maintain our home form and start even picking up draws and some wins on the road, then there’s no doubt that we’ll be there or thereabouts when it comes to May.”
Source : HeraldScotland