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Match Preview

Celtic V Partick Thistle – December 20th 2017

As Thistle reach the halfway point in an incredibly hectic December, it is the short trip to cross city rivals, Celtic, that awaits Alan Archibald and his side on Wednesday night.

Having watched Rodgers’ men get blown away by Hearts on Sunday Archie admitted, when he spoke to, that he had mixed feelings about the result which brought the unbeaten run to an end.

“I think I definitely watched Sunday’s match with mixed emotions. On the one hand it definitely highlighted weaknesses that can give all teams a bit of hope when facing Celtic and we’ll take that into Wednesday night’s game. On the other hand though, Brendan will be looking for a reaction and everyone at the club will be desperate to bounce back in front of their home fans.

“Craig Levein was spot on before the game when he said that for Hearts to get a result they needed to have a really good day and Celtic had to have an off day. I don’t think that’s being negative I just think that’s the truth. Take nothing away from Hearts though, they were terrific and while Celtic might have had an off day we will need the same levels of performance if we are to get something against them on Wednesday night.”

Archibald was keen to play down the potential reaction from Celtic, preferring instead to keep the focus on his own team.

“I think we’re aware that there might be a backlash from Celtic but you would expect nothing less – they’re an incredibly professional outfit. It won’t affect us though we just need to focus on what we can control and that’s our own preparation and performance. Not much will change from our point of view, we’re just concentrating on ourselves.”

It was clear to see that Hearts really took the game to Celtic on Sunday and Archibald has reiterated to his players that energy levels will be key.

“Our work rate will be vital and we need to really work hard from the first whistle to the last if we are to take anything from the game. It’s always going to be a tough place to go though. The pitch is big and you need to be brave in every area to stop them running over the top of you.”

Thistle have good memories from the last time they visited the East End as the side came away with a 1-1 draw courtesy of a 63rd minute Ade Azeez strike. That experience will be something Archibald emphasises in the run up to kick off.

“We had a good result across there last season when we got a draw. We maybe rode our luck a wee bit in the early stages as they had a number of good chances but we saw out that early storm and that’s what you need to do against Celtic.

“We’ve had a couple of OK results through there in terms of performance but we’ve had a couple of bad ones as well. We need to focus on the positives we have taken from our previous meetings and use that on Wednesday night.”

A disappointing defeat away to Dundee left the Jags at the bottom of the table and the Thistle boss knows that his team have to give more if thy are to move up the table.

“We haven’t been at the top of our game recently and I think that’s clear for all to see. We’re bottom of the league but we won’t let that affect us negatively. We went through to Celtic Park in a similar position last year and we raised our game, we need to do the same again on Wednesday night.”

“We didn’t expect to be where we are when we were looking forward to this season and there has been a very frustrating lack of consistency. The only thing that has been consistent has been errors – both individual and collective – and that’s what has killed us this year. We need to cut those errors out of our game because it is costing us big time just now.”

Finally Archibald updated us on the current state of his squad.

“We’re still hopeful of getting two or three players back from injury in the next month or so but the squad won’t change for Wednesday.”

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