Aidan Fitzpatrick targeting trip to Hampden with Partick Thistle as winger scores first header of his career
The 21-year-old glanced home the match-winner against Arbroath in the Jags last-16 tie on Tuesday.
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Aidan Fitzpatrick isn’t known for his heading ability which is why the Partick Thistle midfielder had some convincing to do in the dressing room after helping his side reach the Premier Sports Cup quarter-finals.
The Jags knocked out fellow Championship side Arbroath 1-0 at Firhill on Tuesday night to set up a last eight tie against Aberdeen at Pittodrie in October.
The winning goal arrived in the 81st minute when Fitzpatrick got on the end of a Steven Lawless’ delivery to loop a header over Derek Gaston into the back of the net.
The former Norwich City youngster, who often lets his pace and trickery do the talking against opposition defences, insists the act was deliberate as he celebrated the first headed goal of his career.
He admitted: “That’s the first time I have headed the ball in a game and they were my first two touches. Then I come up with my first headed goal for the winner and I hope it’s not my last one.
“The boys were all giving me stick in the dressing room saying that I didn’t mean it but I definitely did. They were winding me up and they reckoned I was trying to flick it to the back post, but I was trying to put it over the keeper to score.
“It was so important to win the game and get into the next round. We know we have enough quality in the squad that we will create chances and it is up to us to take us.
“We knew with the number of chances we created one of them would go in and thankfully I got it.”
Fitzpatrick’s goal was no less than the Maryhill outfit deserved, having passed up a number of good opportunities to kill the tie earlier in the contest.
The summer signing from Queen of the South believes that the squad depth Ian McCall has assembled could vital in booking their place in the draw for the next round.
He stated: “On nights like Tuesday the experienced guys are so important. Big Brian Graham, Ross Docherty, Stevie Lawless and others, they are so important for us.
“They tell us where to go and where not to go on the park to help the team. When they tell us things we take it on the board.
“I think the quality we have on the bench shows we have that strength and depth and it’s something we have spoken about.
“We have good players in the whole squad and you have to take your chance when you come on.
“Thankfully I was able to do that on Tuesday but we have to put it behind us and go again on Saturday against Arbroath.
“It’s one defeat in ten games for us now, which is a good start to the season. We have to continue that now and we know we can win games but we have to do it consistently.
“No one is in the dressing room getting ahead of ourselves we are all levelled headed in there. We know if we play like we can then good things will come.”
Thistle will head north to take on Jim Goodwin’s in-form Dons side as they look to book an overdue day out to Hampden Park.
The club haven’t reached the semi-finals of a cup competition since 2002 and Fitzpatrick is already dreaming of walking out at the national stadium.
He said: “We are one game away from Hampden and it would be great to play there.
“I have never played in a semi-final and it is something we would love to do, but we have to forget the cup and just to worry about the league again.
“We have to take it one game at a time and we know it will be a tough game. We have to look to try and win again to keep this run going.”
Fitzpatrick is enjoying his second spell at the club with promotion aspirations and a quarter-final to look forward to a far cry from the team he left back in 2019.
During Gary Caldwell’s tenure, the wide player helped Thistle avoid relegation on the final day of the season and admits he has grown up a lot since then.
He said: “I’m glad to be back and I have a smile on my face. I know the place so it was easy for me to settle back in. It’s good to get back playing in front of the fans.
“It’s different to my first spell and you can see how far we have come in recent years. It’s up to us now to take us back to where we should be.
“I am a more mature player now and I’m 21, physically I am stronger and I understand the game better. Hopefully I can show that on the park and help the team this season.”