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Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle – 9th July 2016

Two months ago Thistle fans were looking forward to a fourth consecutive season in the Ladbrokes Premiership having secured safety with two games still to play. It is therefore strange to realise that tomorrow’s fixture with Morton is the last friendly game the side will play before the competitive action kicks off next Friday against Airdrieonians in the Betfred Cup. caught up with manager Alan Archibald ahead of the final friendly game of the summer.

“It’s been another quick pre-season for the boys. We’ve had a quick turn around with the Betfred Cup starting in mid-July, I think this time last year we were just getting ready to head down to Bisham Abbey for our week in England where we played Eastleigh. That gives you a bit of an indication how little time we’ve had between seasons this year.”

Thistle’s results during pre-season have been mixed but Archie is focussing on fitness rather than results.

“We don’t really look at the results during pre-season, it’s all about getting the minutes in the legs for the players. We’ve tried hard to rotate the sides during pre-season and I think Danny Devine is the only player to play significant minutes in each game for us so far. That’s slightly out of necessity as we’ve had defensive injuries throughout pre-season and he’s been the one constant while playing alongside a number of trialists.

“It’d be nice to get a win against Morton to go into the Betfred Cup with a winning feeling but our priority is to make sure we come through the game with a number of players having another 60 to 70 minutes in their legs.”

Alan was missing nine players from the midweek goalless draw with Raith Rovers and we asked the impact it was having on his ability to field a team.

“It’s obviously disappointing to have these players sitting in the stands for whatever reason. We’re just trying to get them back in time for the competitive action starting and making sure they will be ready for the opening league game against Inverness. Having so many players out has presented an opportunity to a number of younger players. I thought James Penrice and Andy McCarthy did well on Tuesday and they had their chance to show me what they can do alongside the first team players.

The young players in our squad know that I will give them a chance in the first team so it is up to those that I pick, to give me a selection headache ahead of the Betfred Cup games.

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