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Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Livingston – 20th May 2018

It’s safe to say that Thursday’s Play-off Final First Leg against Livingston did not go as Jags boss, Alan Archibald would have liked. With a one goal deficit to make up the Thistle squad know exactly what they need to do to guarantee Ladbrokes Premiership football next season.

Archibald spoke to to explain what they took from the first game and how they plan to put it right on Sunday.

“We’ve watched the game back and reflected on the performance but my thoughts on it haven’t changed much in that time – we just didn’t play. We didn’t play our game at all, credit to Livi as that was partly due to them not letting us play but we didn’t assert ourselves on it at all and we made bad decisions. You don’t win games like that playing how we played and we must do better.

“The players are an honest bunch, we watched it back together and they all accepted that it wasn’t good enough and we have to perform to a higher standard.”

With a winner takes all tie ahead Archibald knows from personal experience what is at stake and the gaffer is absolutely certain that the players know too.

“Everyone knows what is on the line and it couldn’t be higher stakes. We have to win the game to stay in the league, simple as that. We know what we need to do but we know how we need to do it as well. Everyone is aware of how dangerous Livi are on the turnover so we’ve got to make sure we bring our own game to the table as well.

“Our incentive is that they are coming to take our place and nobody likes that. As I say though, we know what we need to do and we know we are capable so we just need to throw everything at it come Sunday and make sure we earn our right to play top flight football next season. We’ve now got 90 minutes to go and save our season.”

Livingston outperformed Thistle in the first leg and although Archibald is looking for bravery from his players he insists that isn’t just about physicality.

“People talk about players being brave in terms of a physical battle but for me there’s as much bravery associated with going and showing for the ball when the pressure is on. That’s as much bravery for me as going and winning a 50/50 tackle. There’s a big pitch out there and we need to make sure we use it to our best advantage.

“The two positives for me coming out of Thursday night were that we’re still in the game and we’ve got another chance at it but also that we can’t be any worse than that I don’t think – and that’s individually and collectively as a team. One thing is for sure, we need to make sure we are much, much better.

“The occasion and the way the game went meant that it was a battle. We’re used to that though, most games are a bit of that for the first half hour. What was disappointing though was that when it settled down after the first half hour and there was the chance to play it and move the ball we didn’t. That played to their strengths and they play that game very well. We got dragged into it and probably played more long balls than we have all season.”

Archibald was forced into several changes for the first leg but is hopeful of getting at least some of his walking wounded back in time for Sunday’s clash.

“We had a few injuries on Thursday night and we’ll no doubt have issues to contend with come Sunday. Chris Erskine didn’t make the bench on Thursday because of a hamstring issue and Christie Elliott only just made it so both of those guys are 50/50 for Sunday.  Osman and Keown also just missed out for the first leg so hopefully they will be involved for the final game. We’ve got a squad full of guys absolutely desperate to play so if we can get them on the pitch we will.”

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

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 also listen to live audio commentary of the match.

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