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Dundee V Partick Thistle – 1st March 2017

As his side go looking for a third win on the trot, Alan Archibald certainly appeared in confident mood when he spoke to ahead of Wednesday night’s match away to Dundee. Having said that, the Jags boss isn’t taking anything for granted, especially given where his side were in the table just a few short months ago.

Archibald said: “It’s some turn around since the last time we were up there where we were bottom and second bottom in the league. It’s a massive game for both teams but it’s a chance for us to get into the top six and hopefully stay there for longer than the 20 hours or so we usually last.

“The biggest thing is opening up a gap, we can really start to put a points difference between us and the bottom of the league and that’s what all the teams around us are looking to do. We’ve definitely got our focus on the top six but at the same time you still have one eye on the relegation scrap because the last thing you want is to get dragged into that.

“it’s still so tight that all it takes is a couple of bad results and you’re down fighting again. The flip side to that – and you’ve seen it for us in recent weeks – is that if you get a couple of decent results then you can find yourselves right back up there fighting for a top half finish.”

Despite a distinct turnaround in fortunes Archie can’t put his finger on one specific thing that helped turn his side’s form around.

He continued: “I don’t think there is really anything specific that has changed but you saw the week before Christmas we were still bottom of the league, we put some good results together and the lads stayed positive. We’d had a tough run of games before that but we won the games that really mattered and that was a bit of a springboard.

“When you get one win everyone remembers what it’s like to get results and the confidence around the place completely changes. Sometimes you have to just find a way to win. The most pleasing thing for me is that we have found a way to win. In the early stages of the season we were going a goal ahead and then conceding but we seem to have cut that out of our game.

“I think we’ve had seven clean sheets out of the last nine and a big part of that is the return of Tomas Cerny. That’s no disrespect to the other goalkeepers but for a quarter of the season Tam was in and out and struggling with injuries and there really wasn’t any consistency there. The big thing with Tomas is that he’s a real calming influence and a great character. He’s helped settle what is essentially a completely new back four and that calmness he brings really is invaluable.”

Another major contributing factor to Thistle’s recent form would certainly seem to be the return to fitness of a number of key players. This is reflected in the strong squad Archibald now has to chose from.

“We are looking pretty strong in terms of availability for Wednesday. Obviously Bannigan and Gary Fraser are still out. Sean Welsh joins the longer term injuries after the operation on his achilles but hopefully his recovery goes well, and then there is Ryan Scully who continues to strengthen his shoulder and will hopefully be back available soon.”

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is now available to Jagzone subscribers. Log in now to see it. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight and will be able to listen to live audio commentary from Dens Park.

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