SPFL Ladbrokes Premiership
Wed 7 May, 2014. Kick Off: - 19:45
Referee: Crawford Allan
Assistant Referees: Graham Chalmers and Alan Mulvanny
Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy
Kilmarnock vs St Mirren (Wednesday)
Motherwell vs Inverness CT (Wednesday)
St Johnstone vs Celtic (Wednesday)
First team manager AlanArchibald has admitted his main emotion is relief after Thistle secured their top flight status for another season. Thistle beat Hearts 4-2 on Wednesday night which means that they are mathematically safe from the play-off place. Archibald admits that his side did it the hard way, but got there in the end.
He told ptfc.co.uk: “It’s hard to put it into words; it’s massive for everybody involved at the club. I’ve been here through relegations before and it affects everybody at the club. Everything you do from getting your lunch or to the playing staff, they’re all significant and it’s massive, I think everybody involved deserve it.
“It’s probably more relief than anything else. It’s such a massive achievement for us as a club. Once you’re in the league and you realise what’s at stake, it’s not just financial either, it’s a chance to play in the Premier League and the boys love that. All the press coverage and playing top teams every week – you certainly miss it when it goes.”
Goals from Lyle Taylor, Gary Fraser, Lee Mair and Kallum Higginbotham were enough to seal the all-important three points against Hearts who pushed Thistle all the way with goals from Calum Patterson and Danny Wilson.
Despite being a goal down at the break, Archibald is adamant that his side fully deserved the win.
The first-team manager said: “Yeah we thought we did deserve it. I said to them at half-time, you’ve let yourselves down, I think we knew that ourselves but the first half, we never passed the ball well, even after they scored, we never really had the ball.
“The players took it on board at half time and thankfully came out and performed well. You work hard all year, you try and play the right way, and you try and do the right thing to stay in the league. We have a young and inexperienced side. The lads have done credit to themselves; they’ve been outstanding as well as everybody at the club.”
The former Thistle player was quick to sing the praises of youngster Gary Fraser and also spoke highly of his performance on Wednesday night. Fraser equalised on the night with his best goal yet in Thistle colours.
Archie said: “You just need a reaction from somebody who can drive all of us on and Gary Fraser stood out for me the most. He’s had a long season but his goal was just fantastic, he’s a young guy and, to come through the season he’s had and score a goal like that is just excellent.
“I said to the boys at the end there, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t be a St Mirren or St Johnstone, use them as a benchmark, show that you belong at the top table,”
Despite Thistle securing their top flight status, there is still one more league game to play and that’s against Ross County on Saturday.
Tickets can be collected from the ticket office or alternatively, at www.ptfctickets.co.uk