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Match Preview

Hibernian v Partick Thistle – 31st March 2018

It’s fair to say that the international break probably couldn’t have come at a worse time for Alan Archibald and his team. Fresh off the back of a disappointingly poor performance against Hearts there is little doubt that the last thing Archie would have wanted was a weekend with no game.

So, with some teams taking extended time away from the training pitch it was business as usual and hard work for Archie’s men as they look to bounce back with a much improved performance against Hibs this weekend. Focus was very much the name of the game when the Jags boss spoke to just before fulfilling his media duties after training on Thursday.

“We’ve not really been away to be honest. By the nature of the international break when things aren’t going so well you have to use the time to improve and get back to where you should be, that was the case for us last week. The boys had a couple of days off because obviously we didn’t have a game but apart from that it has been business as usual really.

“It’s difficult to get away from it but, as I say, we were in and working hard for the most part anyway. Where we are now we just need to focus, keep working hard and do our best to get ourselves out of the bother that we’re in.

“The Hearts game was a big disappointment for us. I think everyone knows you can’t win every game but, especially going into the international break, I think you want a performance and we just didn’t get that. Our application has to be better especially given that we’ve been in a relegation battle for most of the season, the players didn’t show enough at Tynecastle and we’ll need them to be much better on Saturday as we look at another tough game.”

When asked if he could put his finger on Thistle’s poor form this season it was one word that sprang to the front of Archibald’s mind.

“Inconsistency has been the biggest problem for us this season and we had an excuse for it in the earlier months because we had a lot of injuries but we haven’t got that excuse now. We performed really well against Aberdeen but it was chalk and cheese when we went out against Hearts. That consistency is going to be essential in the final seven games.

“We haven’t had many overall good performances over a complete 90 minutes but we’re at the stage where it isn’t even about that anymore – it’s just about getting points on the board. Our first aim is to make sure we are in touching distance of the teams around us come the split but we’ve got tough games coming up so we know it won’t be easy.”

It’s a return to Edinburgh this weekend to play high flying Hibs and a much improved performance is expected.

“Easter Road is always a tough place to go and there’s no arguing with the fact that Hibs are a top side. Neil has done a great job and they are where they are fully on merit. We need to get a reaction from our lads after the disappointing display last time out.

“The players know the position they are in and what we need to do between now and the end of the season. We need to get points on the board and get the most we possibly can from the pre-split games we have left. If we can go into the last section of the season in as strong a position as possible then we can keep it in our own hands to get ourselves out of the trouble we are in.

“We’ve had one or two good performances but, unlike last season, we really haven’t put a run together and that’s what you need if you want to start looking up the table.”

The good news for Archie is that he has pretty much a full squad from which to pick.

“Everyone apart from Stuart Bannigan is available so we have a strong set of players at our disposal. That’s a big positive and will hopefully mean that whatever we do we’ll have a strong bench to pick from.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Baily Cargill, Conor Sammon and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are now available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them. 

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