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Match Preview

Partick Thistle V Hearts – September 23rd 2017

After the disappointment of exiting the Betfred Cup on Tuesday night, Alan Archibald sat down with to look towards Saturday afternoon’s clash with Hearts.

The match will see the Jags continue the search for that elusive first Ladbrokes Premiership victory and also marks the first match in a six game run that could go a long way toward shaping Thistle’s season.

The Jags boss began by looking back on the Rangers double header.

“There are a lot of positives to take from the last two games. They were both good performances and we scored good goals in both games. We now need to take those positives into the Hearts game and work hard to get that first league win that we’re still looking for.”

With a series of incredibly tough fixtures now out of the way Thistle will face the teams around them in the league in a crucial run of six games:

“We’ve now got a run of fixtures where we should really be looking to pick up some points and we’re all well aware of that. All the other managers will be saying exactly the same though and will be targeting us for points. It’s vital that we take points from these fixtures, that’s the most important thing. Even at this early stage these games start to look like six pointers.

“Even when you look at this week’s fixtures elsewhere all the teams around us are playing each other an will start to take points off each other. It’s just very important that we look after our own business and start getting points on the table after our difficult start.

“We did really well last year in terms of taking points from the teams around us and that was the foundation on which we built our push for the top six. If we can do a similar thing this season it will prove massively beneficial.

“The end of this month and the whole of October are going to be absolutely vital for us. We have four out of the next six matches at home which is a big bonus and something we need to be looking to take full advantage of. It’s in sharp contrast to November where we’ve got a run of three tough games all away from home so we need to make the most of it while we have the opportunity.”

The big news from Gorgie in recent weeks is the change of manager with Craig Levein taking over since the Jags last played the Jambos. Although it’s another new face in the dugout for the season Archie is nos stranger to Levein’s methods.

“I think Craig was obviously desperate to get that first win and they got it on Saturday – even if they actually played better the week before. They have a strong squad and that’s something everyone can see. I know they were on a bad run at the end of last season and coming into this but they have quality players throughout that side and it allows them to make a number of strong positive changes.

“I worked under Levein for a period of time and the one thing you can guarantee is that he will be absolutely meticulous in his planning for the game. He’ll have the players well drilled and prepared for everything they might face.”

With two games in quick succession it might be understandable if the players were jaded or tired but, according to Archibald, this certainly is not the case.

“I don’t think they were anywhere near as fatigued as what we had expected. They had Wednesday off as usual and they’re now ready and raring to go. They’re in good spirit both mentally and physically. I think they realise we put a lot into the games – both Friday night and Tuesday – but didn’t get what maybe we deserved. The disappointment was sore from the other night but hopefully all the good spells and periods we’ve had in games so far come together for a victory on Saturday.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Kris Doolan and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald are now available to Jagzone subscribers – log in now to see them. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight.

Can’t make The Energy Check Stadium at Firhill? Jagzone World members (outside the UK and Ireland) can watch the game live – the stream is also available on a PPV basis. Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match.

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