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Match Preview

Ayr United v Partick Thistle – 4th August 2018

After four tough Betfred Cup group stage games, it’s time for Partick Thistle to turn their attentions towards the league season. The 2018/19 Championship campaign gets underway tomorrow and the Jags travel to Somerset Park to take on Ayr in their league opener. The Maryhill men lost to Ian McCall’s side last weekend in the final match of Betfred Cup Group E as goals from Michael Moffat and Lawrence Shankland saw the Ayrshire outfit to victory. However, it’s a clean slate for this weekend’s clash as Thistle look to secure their first league win of the season at the first opportunity. Jags manager, Alan Archibald spoke to ahead of his side’s Championship opener.

Archie began by saying that although his squad is not complete yet, he feels that his side have enough to get the points on Saturday.

“I think it’s clear that as a squad we’re still light on numbers but we’ve been trying very hard this week. Unfortunately, we’ve had two knockbacks in the last few days which isn’t great as we wanted a couple more in for the start of the league season but that hasn’t happened. In terms of the players who are here, they’re ready to go. We’ve got most people some time on the pitch and there’s an excitement ahead of the first game of the league season.”

The gaffer knows that when you’re aiming for promotion, establishing yourselves as challengers early on can be extremely important and that’s why he’s desperate for an opening day win against Ayr.

“A quick start is vital because giving your rivals an early headstart makes it unnecessarily difficult to catch them up. Going to Somerset Park will not be an easy trip for anyone this year and to go there and win would really set us off on the right foot.”

Alan says that he learned a lot from last weekend’s defeat by Ayr and feels his side will be much better prepared for Ayr’s style of play this time round.

“We need to be better than we were at home last Saturday. We had plenty of the ball last week but failed to create too much and then whenever we did create, our shots were either off-target or straight at the goalkeeper. We need to be more clinical and, at times, a bit more direct. There’ll be periods when we can get the ball down but at times, when we’re under pressure it might be better to move it forward quickly.”

With it being Ayr’s flag day tomorrow, Archie knows there will be a bumper crowd and a special atmosphere at Somerset Park for the game and hopes that his side can take the sting out of the occasion early on.

“Ideally, we’ll take control early on. They’ll come out flying, full of energy and we’re probably going to have to ride out that storm. We started well last week but threw that away by gifting them a goal which knocked the stuffing out of our guys.”

Thistle have two players suspended for the game tomorrow with Christie Elliott and Andy McCarthy both unavailable and Alan admits that this will force his hand a bit in terms of what formations and tactics he deploys for the match.

“We’re going to have to change things up as a result of those missing players. That’s another issue with having a small squad. One or two absentees can have a huge effect. We don’t have another natural right-back to fill in so we have to look at other options. We’ve worked on various different approaches and formations this week so we should be able to deal with missing those players.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Kris Doolan, Shea Gordon and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are available to Jagzone subscribers –  log in now to see them.

Jagzone members will also be able to watch extended highlights of the game.

Can’t make The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday afternoon.

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