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Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Ayr United – 28th July 2018

After three Betfred Cup Group E games, it’s nine points from a possible nine for Partick Thistle with the Jags having won against Stenhousemuir, Morton and Albion Rovers. The Maryhill men have scored six and conceded just one so far but face a very stern test in the form of fellow unbeaten side, Ayr United. Ian McCall’s Honest Men have romped to three wins against the same opposition as Thistle and look in good shape ahead of their visit to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. Ahead of the crunch match which will decides who tops the group, Alan Archibald spoke to

The gaffer began by saying that a second game of the group against a Championship side will be another useful challenge for his squad who are still bonding as a group.

“It will be a very difficult game. I think there will be periods like the second half against Morton because Ayr are the kind of team who like to get at you. They haven’t changed much from the team that won League One either so they’ll still be riding high off the back of that. They came out flying against Stenhousemuir on Tuesday and we need to be careful that we don’t get caught out early.”

Alan was keen not to let the pitch be used as an excuse on Tuesday but admits that being back at home on a much better surface will make it a lot easier for his side to play the way they want to.

“I expect to move the ball a lot more quickly tomorrow. The bobbly turf at Cliftonhill meant it was tough to play those sharp, driven passes that get you from back to front in seconds. In the end we went long ball more regularly than we’d have liked but it got us through that game. It’ll be different on Saturday and we’ll be ready for that.”

Archie is looking forward to seeing how Thistle’s new look defence get on against a side that scored over 90 goals as they marched towards the League One title last year.

“It will be a big test for the boys in defence. They’re definitely strongest when they’re going forward and they get plenty of numbers forward. Sometimes they almost play a 4-2-4 with how advanced their wingers are. Shankland is in flying form but Moffat, Forrest and McDaid are all great creative players as well and our guys will have to be in top form to keep them out.”

The Jags boss is adamant that his players can’t be distracted by the immediate rematch that’s in the pipeline in Thistle’s league opener. He says his side’s full focus has to be on tomorrow’s game or they could be caught out.

“It’s one of those weird situations that comes about when the fixtures come out of the system. Each game will be very different both with what’s at stake and what the day means. Tomorrow, we’re closing out the group stages of the cup and then suddenly we’re kicking off the league season with Ayr’s flag day. The players can’t think ahead though; we have to take each game as they come. If we can win this one then we can go to Somerset Park with a bit more confidence to help us start the Championship campaign positively.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Sean McGinty, Max Melbourne and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are available to Jagzone subscribers –  log in now to see them.

Jagzone members will also be able to watch extended highlights of the game.

Can’t make The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:45pm on Saturday afternoon.

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