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Match Preview

Celtic v Partick Thistle – 10th February 2018

Celtic Park will be the venue for Thistle’s Fifth Round William Hill Scottish Cup tie this Saturday and while Alan Archibald admits he may have been hoping for a kinder draw, he also knows that in a cup tie anything can happen. Never one to shirk the so called magic of the competition Archie sat down with on Friday to talk about Saturday’s clash with Glasgow rivals, Celtic.

Archibald said: “I think someone told me it’s 29 games since we beat Celtic which is too long by anyone’s measure. Granted there are games in there that we maybe should have taken victories from, especially since I took charge. We’ve had some decent performances at Celtic Park in recent seasons but ultimately it stands for nothing if you can’t take at least a point away from these games. Nowhere is that more true than in the Cup where you either get through or your journey comes to an end.

“Kilmarnock went and did it last week and I think that gives everyone a bit of hope that we can too – certainly that’s the way we’ll look at it. Obviously you’ve got to be wary of the backlash but we’ll look to take care of our own business. We know what to expect and we’ll need to deal with that when it comes on Saturday.”

The cup offers a bit of respite from Premiership business and it’s fair to say that Archibald and his squad are looking forward to the match, and the prospect of writing their own bit of Jags history.

“It’s certainly got a different feel about it and it brings a bit of refreshment when these cup games come along – you look forward to the William Hill Scottish Cup and to playing in it no matter who the opposition are. It’s a chance for these lads to make themselves heroes for generations to come and if that doesn’t motivate you then nothing will.

“I remember Tommy Smith scoring at Parkhead shortly after I first joined the club and even now everyone talks about that goal. That’s what we’ll be saying to the players, go make yourself a hero. That idea is even bigger in a cup tie so it could be absolutely massive.

“It’s a one off game and we just need to make sure we give everything. We’ll have a game plan to play to and if the players stick to that I think we have a real chance. It’s always going to be tough and we were a bit disappointed not to get a better draw but now we’ve just got to focus on ourselves and on giving the best account that we possibly can.”

Both Callum Booth and Steven Lawless missed Saturday’s trip to Fir Park as well as Tuesday night’s clash with Rangers, with Niall Keown also missing the Rangers game. Although Keown remains a doubt there was positive news on both Lawless and Booth.

“Hopefully we’ll have Steven Lawless and Callum Booth back but Niall Keown is still 50/50. Stuart Bannigan is still having issues and he’s away to see a specialist this week to get to the bottom of the issue that is persisting with his knee. We really want to get to the bottom of it because it’s almost two years the lad has been out now and he’s just desperate to get back playing.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Paul McGinn, Martin Woods and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them.

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