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Match Preview

Inverness CT v Partick Thistle – 22nd March 2014

As the team prepares to head back to the Highlands for their game against Inverness, caught up with manager, Alan Archibald, to get his thoughts ahead of what could prove to be a crucial match in Thistle’s season.
Archie started off by reflecting on what a difference a couple of wins has made to the feeling around the camp.
Alan said: “Getting the two back to back home wins has lifted a bit of the gloom around the place. I think it probably was starting to play on people’s minds – the fact that it had been so long since our last home win. Getting back to back wins shows that the Aberdeen result wasn’t just a flash in the pan and we can hopefully take the confidence into the game this week.
“We definitely showed a ruthlessness in both penalty boxes that had been missing from our games earlier in the season. You saw that in the last game against Hibs when, not only did we score three very very good goals but when, in the last ten minutes, they won three or four corners and we defended them all extremely well.”
And the manager recognises exactly what a great time it is to be hitting form.
“It’s definitely a good time to be hitting form. I think the games after the split will take care of themselves but it’s vital to get as many points up on the board between now and then as possible. Inverness this weekend will be a very very hard game but obviously we did go up there earlier in the season and got three points so it’s somewhere we’ll go with a bit of confidence.”
With Inverness coming up on their third game of the week is Archibald targeting Saturday for another three points?
He said: “I think every game provides a real chance for a win at the moment. As you’ve seen in the league, I think everyone outside of Celtic look more than capable of beating each other so we’ll be positive in our outlook but we do need to be careful at the same time.
“No matter how many games they’ve played Inverness are still a very very good team and even though they’ve lost a few games in a row now their position in the table shows what they have been capable so far in the season. They have a real threat in McKay, Doran and Draper and they’re starting to pass the ball well too so we’ve made the lads aware of that and we’ll be working to nullify that threat.”
The combination of Lyle Taylor and Kris Doolan, playing together against Hibs for the first time, was crucial to securing the 3-1 victory at Firhill last week and Alan was aware of how important this partnership could be between now and the end of the season.
“We were delighted with how the partnership worked out on Saturday and the way three or four of them; Higginbotham, Erskine, Lyle and Dools, linked up was fantastic. Up until now we’ve only really been able to get them all on the pitch together as subs because it’s hard to set your team up with so many attacking players from the start. Having said that the big point about last week was that they all worked ever so hard and if we do go with them together in the future they’ll have to work just as hard again.”
The gaffer confirmed that Bannigan is back in contention having missed the Hibs game through suspension and Aaron Muirhead has trained all week so could be involved. Osbourne and Welsh are still out through injury.

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