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From The Other Side

By Craig Anderson
Fri, 28th Dec 2007 5:00pm

Craig Anderson looks ahead to Clyde's two "New Year" matches in the IRN-BRU First Division, against the sides managed by Derek McInnes and Ian McCall...

Clyde v St.Johnstone (28/12/2007) & Partick Thistle v Clyde (2/1/2008)

CLYDE may be unbeaten in their last six matches going into the New Year fixtures - but pulling away from the bottom end of the table has to be the number one aim over the next week.

However, The Bully Wee won't find it easy when they entertain St.Johnstone at Broadwood on Saturday, then travel to Firhill for a New Year cracker with Partick Thistle.

Derek McInnes brings his enigmatic Saints side to Cumbernauld for an important First Division clash as they look to try and catch up on Dundee and Hamilton. But their form so far has been inconsistent as they sit 12 points off the pace, with The Dees and Accies looking to turn the title race into a two-horse race.

Since McInnes took over from Burnley-bound Owen Coyle at the start of December, the former Rangers and West Brom player has registered only one win in five games. It appears to be draws that keep holding them back and after Boxing Day's goalless blank with Stirling Albion, three points must be demanded by McInnes.

So far, St Johnstone have failed to beat Clyde under Hendry this season with Clyde registering a 1-0 win at Broadwood in August, then a 1-1 draw in Perth in October.

Clyde themselves are in their best form under Colin Hendry since his arrival at the club and the former Scotland captain was pleased at getting a point at league leaders Hamilton on Boxing Day. It takes their unbeaten run to six and although that's an undeniable positive to take into the next couple of games, wins are needed to move the club away from the wrong end of the table.

Although Clyde have a healthy eight-point gap over Stirling Albion, only five points separate seven teams in that tight mid-table area and the games over the next week could see a couple fall off the pace. That's why it's important the Bully Wee gets those wins and after St.Johnstone has visited Broadwood, then it's off to fortress Firhill for some New Year cheer.

Partick Thistle are the last club to beat Clyde before they went on that run and Ian McCall will no doubt expect more of the same from his men.

The Jags have had something of an up-and-down kind of season, but recently they have embarked on a run that sees them having suffered only one loss in their last ten. But like a lot of teams in that mid-table purgatory, they can't seem to get the sort of winning run that would take them nearer the top of the table.

Ideally McCall would like to see his team claim a full six points from six once they've played Dundee on Saturday then entertain Clyde on Wednesday, but the First Division is proving to be very unpredictable.

Partick have drawn their last five home games, while Clyde have won only two of nine on their travels, so punters would most probably fancy a Partick win. But this league has been a bookies' dream and with everyone taking points off each other, this week will could throw up a couple of intriguing results.

Thistle will want to keep their decent record over Clyde after beating them 4-0 in August then sealing a 2-1 victory at Broadwood in November.

It's certainly going to be a big week for boss Colin Hendry and if he can add the Assistant Manager he's been after, then it really will be a Happy New Year!