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Match Preview

Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle – 27th September 2014

After a late extra time victory against St Mirren in the Scottish League Cup on Tuesday night, it’s back to Premiership action on Saturday as the Jags travel the short distance to Rugby Park to take on Kilmarnock.

Obviously the first main talking point was the League Cup quarter final draw, Thistle being rewarded with an away trip to Celtic for all their hard work on Tuesday night. Archie told what he thought of the draw.

“The draw is what it is. We would have liked a home tie first and foremost, and not one against the reigning champions, but we’ll certainly give it our best. Teams have been getting some joy from Celtic recently and you don’t always know what you’re going to get. T’s something to look forward to and we’ll make it our cup final.

“The competition as a whole has been a big incentive for us this season and we’ve been telling the players exactly that. All you have to do is win a couple of games and you’re in a semi-final and it’s a real chance to win a trophy. When you look at the teams that have won it in recent years there is absolutely no reason why Thistle can’t go on and do the same.”

Looking forward to Kilmarnock the word on Archie’s lips is momentum.

“We spoke after the Inverness game and ahead of the St Mirren league game about the importance of getting back to back wins and generating some momentum, that’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do come Saturday.

“We showed on Tuesday night that we can win scrappily when we have to. Make no mistake, that was a hard fought 1-0 victory. Yes we are always looking to play good football but, sometimes, the win is more important and we need to show we can win the ugly games too and there’s nothing wrong with that.

“If we’re going to start moving up the table and looking above us rather than over our shoulder these are the games we need to be winning. The games against teams, like Kilmarnock, that are also looking to kick on and challenge for the top half finish that we all want.”

Alan knows it is going to be a tight league, and sees the Friday night St Mirren game as an example of how, after just a couple of mistakes, a game can change completely.

“There are going to be a lot of games this season that sway on just a couple of mistakes, just like that St Mirren game. We need to work as hard as we can to make sure we’re taking advantage of others’ mistakes rather than the other way around.”

After a tough season for Kilmarnock last term the Thistle boss knows that the Ayrshire side are a real threat now.

“They’ve totally turned round their whole squad. They’ve got a very different look to their team now with pace and power about them and I think Allan Johnston has strengthened very very well. They have threat in the wide areas and have the ability to cause teams real problems. At the end of the day they’ll be looking to do exactly the same as us, they’ll be eying the top half of the league and aiming to put a run of results together.

“They’ll be the same as us, targeting three points at home, but we are targeting this as a game that we can hopefully get three points from.”

This will be Thistle’s first experience of the new artificial pitches that have been introduced to the Scottish Premiership this season. Despite the controversy around the new surfaces Alan know his players have no excuse.

“We trained on astro all last season so our players have absolutely no excuse and they know that. We trained on it on Thursday and Friday but our whole training schedule was on the astro last year so it really is nothing new to us and I won’t let them use it as an excuse.”

There are a couple of niggles in the squad but Archibald aims to give them every chance of making the team come Saturday.

“We do have a couple of wee niggles actually. Stevenson and Higginbotham both picked up ankle knocks. They’re big players for us and we’ll give them every chance of making the squad but we’ll just have to wait and see. Sean Welsh started taking part in some light training with the team this week which was brilliant to see, even if he is still a way off making his return, and Gary Fraser is continuing with the rehab for his knee injury.”

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