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Match Preview

Celtic v Partick Thistle – 20th December 2016

In one sense it has been a long wait to play tonight’s fixture for Alan Archibald and his side – the original match having supposed to be played in August – but having faced Celtic just 10 days ago, the Jags boss could be forgiven for wanting not to see the champions again for a little bit longer.

When speaking to ahead of the fixture though, Archie made it clear that his team was ready for the challenge and that there was a real determination to his players after they were beaten 4-1 at Firhill the last time the two sides met.

“Everyone has to play everyone, that is the nature of the league at this time of year. This match being rearranged for now just makes an already tough run of fixtures that little bit harder – that’s all it is.

“We actually wanted to push the fixture a wee bit later for both sets of fans – seeing as we played them so recently – but because of the winter we had last year the league wanted everything played as soon as possible.

“Celtic Park is a tough place to go just now, I was there the other night watching them play Hamilton and we know exactly what we’re going to be coming up against. The other side of it is that we know what we can do and we’re going into the fixture off the back of a very good second half performance against Hearts so we have plenty of confidence.

“We caused a lot of problems at Tynecastle and I thought we were the dominant side, especially in the second half, and created a lot of chances against a really good team. Truth be told we probably should have won the game but there were still plenty of positives to take away. We’ll look to bring them to Celtic Park and hopefully if all our players are on their game then we definitely have the opportunity to take something.”

Having seen exactly what Brendan Rogers’ Celtic are capable of the last time the two sides met, Archibald knows his side have to be tighter and more controlled to frustrate the Jags’ cross city neighbours.

“You’ve seen teams like Dundee frustrate them and a lot of that comes from not giving them easy chances. When we played them at Firhill we had a decent first half but a horrible five minutes after the break cost us and gave us a mountain to climb.

“People look away from fixtures like Tuesday night and just write us off. Other teams don’t expect you to pick up points from these kind of games so anything we do get is a bonus. We knew we were going into a tough run of fixtures but the league is still tight which is the main thing.

“Even though the end result was disappointing the last time we played Celtic we did show how you can get at them. We had a spell against them at Firhill when we scored and then had the goal chalked off so it is possible to go and cause them problems. The lads know that and it is exactly what we will be looking to go and do.”

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