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Kilmarnock V Partick Thistle 18th March 2017

Thistle may have suffered last minute heartache against Inverness last week but Alan Archibald remained as determined as ever going into this weekend’s clash with Kilmarnock. When the Jags boss spoke to there was no getting away from just how big a game Saturday will be.

“It’s huge. I think it’s a massive game. It’s strange because when we played them at Christmas it was completely different, we were at the bottom end of the league and they weren’t far above us. Obviously since then things have changed, they’ve changed the manager and we’ve gone on a wee run and could open up a bit of a gap if things go well on Saturday.

“It’s another massive six pointer. We seem to say the same things to the players every week – “it’s another big game” and they’re just getting bigger every week. I think it’ll be a totally different type of game because we’ll both be going all out for the win – it’s huge.”

Archibald didn’t disguise just how disappointed the squad were after Saturday’s last minute blow.

“We’re still in good form with three wins and a draw but any time you lose a last minute goal to cost you a win it feels like a defeat and it’s hard to find the positives in it, you tend to focus on the negatives.

“I think if we had been away from home last week that might not have happened, we were comfortable in the game and felt that way but that maybe meant we weren’t quite as street smart as we would have been if it was away from home. We didn’t feel like we needed to find the corners or work to see the game out but we need to keep that concentration right to the last.

With the Jags unbeaten in four and holding an excellent record over their Ayrshire rivals, there is plenty of confidence in the Firhill camp.

“It’s important that we take the positives into the Kilmarnock game now though. We’re on a good run of form, and we’re unbeaten in our recent games which puts us in a strong position going into Saturday.

“Every team will be looking at the fixtures coming up and working out what points they can take and what games they can target. A win on Saturday would be a big step but there’s a lot of football left to play and even all three points certainly won’t guarantee anything.

“Each of the sides around us know that if they put a run together they have a chance and, in the same breath, we know that if we aren’t doing the business we’ll fast slip back down the table. Saturday could go a long way to telling us where in the table we might finish but it is by no means anywhere near being over.”

The Jags boss was forced to make a couple of changes against Inverness due to injuries and he is hoping that some of the injury concerns will disappear ahead of kick off on Saturday.

“We’re struggling a wee bit in terms of fitness and we’ll need to wait and see. Danny Devine missed out against Inverness and obviously Abdul Osman and Stevie Lawless suffered knocks in that game too. We’ll give them as much time as we can but at the moment I honestly don’t know which will be available. As I say, we’ll just need to wait and see and hopefully we’ll get some good news tomorrow.”

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 Rugby Park.

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