Call-ups deny Edwards any momentum
Advancing Australia career fair enough but Thistle man’s club progress ‘stop-start’
PARTICK THISTLE’S attackingmidfielder Ryan Edwards admits that he has so far struggled to make much of an impression on the Firhill first team, but the 22-year-old says his cause hasn’t been helped by the calls for service that have come from his country.
As captain of the Olyroos, the Australian under-23 side, being called upon to represent his country is an honour that the proud Aussie would never be able to turn down, but he admits that the frequency of his lengthy trips for their games has had an impact on his opportunities to impress his club manager Alan Archibald.
At a time of year when most players in Scottish football will be casting a wary eye towards the glut of fixtures approaching on the horizon during the hectic festive period, perhaps wishing they could indulge in a spot of Christmas pudding and more than a spot of seasonal imbibement, Edwards is looking at it as a golden chance to show the Partick Thistle supporters what he is all about before heading off to sunnier climes again in January.
Speaking at a dreich Lesser Hampden upon his return to training after international duty in Doha and Dubai, he said: “The trip was really good, we had two good games, one against Qatar and one against Iran. We’re still in the friendly stage at the moment, the qualifiers aren’t until January. I captained the team against Qatar and although we lost 3-1, it was never a 3-1 loss, then we drew 1-1 with Iran which was much better.
“It’s probably the biggest accolade you can get at any age-group to captain your country. It’s an amazing feeling wearing the armband and walking the boys out. Hearing the anthem, even though the crowds aren’t maybe the greatest in youth football, it’s still an unbelievable feeling.
“It’s good to have internationals representing their country at any club. We’ve also got Mathias Pogba and Mustapha Dumbuya going away with their countries, so it’s great for the profile of the club.
“There’s positives and negatives to it, though. I signed for Partick Thistle in September, so in the last two or three months I’ve been coming and going with the international breaks, so I haven’t really got any momentum going club-wise, and that’s probably the negative for myself and the club.
“The positive side of it is that I’m playing international football and getting that exposure and experience that I can bring back and hopefully use for the club.
“I feel as if my Partick career so far has been a bit stop-start. I signed after the season had started and you try your best to get in the team straight away, but all of a sudden you’re off and when the team is training together as a group you’re missing out on a chance to impress and to get into the team.
“I’ve gone three times already now on international duty but from now until Christmas there’s six or seven games, so hopefully I can try to get into the team. The Christmas period is very busy so there’s going to be chances there and it’s a long season, so hopefully even after the January international break I’ll have chances to impress too.”
Stop-start is probably an apt description for Partick Thistle’s season as a whole, given that they didn’t really get going until October. After a horrendous opening to the campaign where they failed to pick up a win in their first 10 games, their form has picked up though. The last six matches have produced three wins, two draws and just a solitary defeat, and Edwards is confident that they are capable of maintaining a similar strike-rate as they attempt to lift themselves away from trouble at the bottom-end of the table.
“We’ve shown that when we can pick up a few points how quickly it can move you up the table,” he said. “On the flip side of that we then had a couple of draws and a loss to Hearts, so we dropped right back down.
“We’re hoping that our good results over the last few weeks will help to push us back up. You can see how close the table is, but as long as we keep playing well and picking up points then it will be shown in the table.
“Our consistency has got better over the last few weeks. The Hearts game was a bit of a blip when we lost 4-0, but apart from that our performances have been really good. We’ve had a few draws where we probably should have won, like the game at Dundee when we gave away a late equaliser, but in the game at the weekend the luck was on our side with the goal in the last minute. The points will come, I’m sure.”
WINTER IMPACT: Ryan Edwards is hoping to break into the Thistle first team