Lovell back in business for Dundee crunch test
HIS SIGNING may yet be the most important that Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall makes during his Firhill tenure.
And Stevie Lovell has vowed to do everything he can to dent Dundee’s First Division title charge and re-ignite the Jags’ own promotion ambitions in Maryhill today.
It was the groin injury that brought top scorer Liam Buchanan’s season to an end last term that both exposed the lack of depth up front at Partick and perhaps did most to stop Thistle catching eve n tu a l champions St Johnstone.
But when the same scenario evolved this time around, Jags boss McCall was able to conjure up the signing – albeit only until January – of experienced former Aberdeen and Falkirk striker Lovell as the perfect antidote to his striking woes.
And after a superb lineleading performance and matchwinning strike against Inverness last weekend, Lovell says he is ready to shoot down another of his ex-clubs i n the First Division’s match of the day.
He said: “This game is massive for us – there is no other way to describe it . Obviously Dundee had a good win up at Ross County last midweek and that means they have moved five points clear of us. We can’t afford for them to get any further ahead.
“When you look at the players they have signed over the summer and at the impact they have made this season then I think it is fair that they are seen as the favourites, but we believe we have the quality to beat them.
“On top of that, I think we showed in the way we came back from a goal down against Inverness last weekend that we have the character needed to get a result today. That is every bit as important as having the quality in your side.”
Lovell added: “I had three good seasons at Dundee and scored a few goals for them, but that was a while back and I am 100% focused on trying to help Partick to a win. If we can get three points from this one then the type of momentum and belief we would get could be vital.”
In the previous meeting between the sides, all Thistle’s fluid passing and ceaseless bombardment of the Dundee goal was undone by twin moments of sublime striking by Leigh Griffiths and former Jags star Gary Harkins.
LOVELL’S presence at last adds the aerial menace interminably lacking in the Partick attack as well as a directness amply demonstrated in his winner against Inverness previously.
But with Thistle having found themselves behind in each of their last two games, Lovell has warned his teammates that they must come out the blocks at full pelt.
He said: “I think we will need to start a bit more aggressively but try and combine that with remaining calm and composed when we have the ball.
“The boys told me that we played really well up at Dens but got nothing and there is a determination to right that.”
Having notched his first full 90 minutes of the season against Caley Thistle last time out, Lovell says he is ready to up the ante once more against Jocky Scott’s side.
He said: “Inverness was the first 90 minutes I had played since the Scottish Cup Final against Rangers in May.
“I felt like I finished the game pretty strongly last weekend and, of course, getting the goal was a big boost as it was my first for Partick and my first of the season.
“My fitness and sharpness are both coming back.”
Glasgow Warriors’ seasonticket holders are reminded they will get i n free on production of their season ticket voucher.