Little loss is a big blow, reckons Arbroath boss Campbell

Injured Arbroath defender Ricky Little is set to miss his first match for three years as the Lichties head for Firhill this Saturday.

The 32-year-old was concussed after a clash of heads last weekend with Raith Rovers veteran Christophe Berra shortly before half-time during the teams’ scoreless draw at Gayfield.

Manager Dick Campbell said Little had been “magnificent” for Arbroath and, while his unavailability could be looked on as an opportunity, it was certainly a blow.

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The side line up against Partick Thistle in one of the most attractive games on this weekend’s fixture list. Both are level on 28 points – Thistle in fourth place in the table and the Lichties in fifth – with Partick narrowly ahead on goal difference.

The Jags also recorded a non-scoring draw last Saturday, away to Queen of the South, making it eight matches undefeated and eight clean sheets in succession, while Campbell’s men are also unbeaten in eight.

The Glasgow side are the highest scorers in the Scottish Championship at present, with 29 goals, while Arbroath and Raith Rovers are joint second with 26.

Campbell, however, remains concerned only with Arbroath, although with a nod to Partick Thistle’s firepower, he said: “They’ve scored a lot of goals, I will say that for them.”

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Arbroath beat Ian McCall’s side 3-1 at home when they met early in the season, so Lichties followers will be hoping for something similar.

Campbell noted the congestion in the top and bottom halves of the Scottish Championship and said Arbroath had done well against the teams above them. However, it was a case of staying conscious and moving on to the next game. "It’s a tight league and everyone is capable of beating each other,” he added.

After last Saturday’s draw against Raith Rovers, Campbell said it was another match he felt Arbroath should have won, as they did well with the chances they created and kept another clean sheet.

He said John McGlynn’s side – now unbeaten in 14 games – paid Arbroath an enormous compliment by playing five at the back and three centre halves, adding the Kirkcaldy side had come looking for a draw.

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A Colin Hamilton cross in the fourth minute was beautifully controlled by Joel Nouble just 10 yards out. His shot was heading for the top corner but, somehow, Tom Lang managed to head it over for a corner.

Arbroath were dominating the game but couldn’t mould their possession and territorial advantage into a clear opportunity. Rovers’ only chance in the first half fell to Dylan Tait, whose shot was blocked in the 22nd minute by ‘keeper Derek Gaston.

Sub Bobby Linn had a great chance in the 71st minute for Arbroath after Little’s replacement, David Gold set him free down the right wing. But, as Linn raced into the box, the ball was on his weaker foot and his shot was saved by Jamie MacDonald.

Tait lined up a shot in the 83rd minute but Arbroath’s defence all threw themselves at the ball to make sure it was blocked. With seconds left, Linn almost stole it for the hosts as his shot sneaked under the body of the diving MacDonald, only to be cleared off the line by Liam Dick.

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