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Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Rangers – 6th February 2018

A strong performance on Saturday was probably deserving of more than the point that came back from Motherwell to Maryhill. Having said that, it was the latest in a series of strong performances from the Jags since the January break and with a number of first team players returning from long term layoffs due to injury the Jags faithful will be hopeful of a result on Tuesday night.

As the team prepare for the rescheduled match against Rangers it is clear that all the players and staff are determined to go one better than they did the last time the Gers came to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

When Jags boss, Alan Archibald, spoke to ahead of the clash, he started off by touching on previous home performances against Thistle’s cross city rivals.

“We’ve run them close a few times and not always got what we deserved out of the games. The games here, especially in recent times have been, for the most part, quite close and this season in particular we feel like we probably should have taken more from the games.

“It will be tough tonight though – there’s no getting away from that. I think Graeme has strengthened really well, making very good signings who all know the league so I think they’ll be a tougher proposition than maybe they have been in the past.”

With both Old Firm sides losing at the weekend it would be understandable to expect some sort of backlash come kick off but Archibald is clear that any thought of that will not affect his team’s preparations.

“You never know what you’re going to get when one of the Old Firm loses a match but it won’t affect our preparation. We’ve done our analysis and looked into the Hibs game to see if we could identify any weaknesses to exploit. Even in defeat though, they showed great quality and created some really good chances. It’s the same as ever in that we will need to be at our very best to get anything from the game. Our home form has been good all season though so we’ll be hoping that will help us get a result out of the game.”

There is a refreshed feeling around the Thistle squad in 2018 and that has so far been backed up with strong on pitch performances. This is a trend that Archie is determined to keep going.

“The January break was great for us but the month before that was also really positive in terms of us having guys back training with us who had recovered from injury which just gave us that extra element of competition. That is always going to be a good thing and I think you see an uplift in training and performances when everyone has another player snapping at their heels for a place in the squad.

“The real positive for me is that we now have like for like replacements in almost every position and they’re quality replacements at that. It means if we do pick up knocks like we did ahead of Saturday’s game we have bodies to come straight in and replace them. We’ve not been in that situation all season and instead have had to shoehorn the likes of Blair Spittal and Steven Lawless into unfamiliar positions which disrupts the balance of the side, no matter how well they do when called upon.

“We’re going into the game on quite strong form. We got a draw on Saturday at Fir Park which is a really tough place to go. That was preceded with a good win away to St Johnstone and a strong performance here against Celtic. All of these are things we can draw on and take positives from. Ultimately though we need the players to be at their best.

With the worst of his injury problems behind him the gaffer was forced to shuffle his pack again on Saturday with Sammon, Lawless and Booth all missing. However the news was more positive ahead of Tuesday night’s match.

“Conor Sammon will come back into contention after returning to Glasgow on Sunday and training with the squad on Monday. Callum Booth and Steven Lawless both missed the game on Saturday with knocks so we’ll need to wait and see how they are ahead of kick off. Other than that I think the squad will be much the same as it was at the weekend.

More exclusive preview interviews with Miles Storey 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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