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Match Preview

Dundee v Partick Thistle – 16th December 2017

Thistle’s win on Wednesday night may not have been one for the anxious fan but the three points stayed in Maryhill and that was what mattered for Thistle. While Alan Archibald did admit to having felt the nerves he made it clear the the team were taking the positives from it when he spoke to after training on Friday.

“It was a nervy one on Wednesday and I think everyone in the stadium felt that as we got closer to full time. I think especially when the second one went in there was a bit of worry. Having said that, you have to give credit where credit is due and Motherwell were very good in the second half. They’re a good team and they are strong from set pieces which is how they hurt us. Don’t get me wrong though, we still didn’t do well enough defending those opportunities.

“At the end of the day it was all about the three points and everyone was delighted that we saw it through – despite the nerves.”

The victory took the Jags to within a point of Saturday’s opponents, Dundee, and the tight nature of the league is not something that is lost on the Thistle boss.

“I think there are only nine points between seven teams or something, and although there are may be four or five of us involved down the bottom at the moment that can all change and can change ever so quickly. The only way you can guarantee to be out of the scrap is by getting in that top six and we found that out last year.

“The beauty of this league is that we could go off the bottom on Saturday. Things change so quickly, especially at this time of year with so many games. As long as we’re in touch and not getting cut adrift there’s that opportunity to get back in with the pack.”

Thistle already have one win against Dundee this season but as Archie pointed out, the result probably doesn’t tell the full story of the match.

“It’s going to be a tough task. Anyone who was at the game against Dundee earlier in the season will tell you that they were very good that day and we were poor. We got out of jail with two late goals but we can’t let it get to that stage again and we must do better. Regardless of previous results, we know it is going to b a very tough task.

“When you win games it breeds confidence – there’s no doubt about that – hopefully we can take that boost into Saturday after Wednesday night. A couple of wins can change the whole complexion of things and that has been the way the league has worked for a couple of years now. We need to build a run of results and hopefully we can do that between now and the end of the year.

“It’s always the same at this stage in the season – all the teams play all the teams around each other and something has to give. We just need to make sure that, at the end of the period, we come out on top and can look to the New Year with a real positivity.”

Martin Woods made his first start for the Jags on Wednesday and had a clear impact on the game, with his experience shining through. Although the midfielder was forced off shortly after the hour Archibald is under no illusions as to how important the former Ross County man could be to the rest of the season.

“We’ll need to see how Martin Woods is doing. He went down with cramp in the second half and he was feeling sore earlier in the week but we’re hopeful that he can be involved. The problem with Martin is that he just hasn’t played enough football recently and those fitness levels take time to build up. We don’t want to push him too much and potentially lose him for longer as his experience is invaluable to us at the moment. Other than that we have the same players available as Wednesday.”

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