Friday 28th July, 2017 at 6:44pm
The Betfred Cup group stages have proven to be a tricky test for Alan Archibald’s side as they gear up for the Ladbrokes Premiership campaign beginning next Saturday at Easter Road.
The Jags can clinch a slot in the last 16 of the competition with victory against Stranraer at Firhill tomorrow afternoon.
Manager Alan Archibald spoke to ptfc.co.uk after training concluded on Friday afternoon with the squad ready for a tough final test in Group H.
“We’re ready to take on Stranraer tomorrow and the players know that if we win we’ll be in the next round of the competition. There will be no nervous waiting for other results to creep through, we know that if we win, we’re in which is the position we want to be in.
“Ideally, we’d have won the group but credit to Livingston, they won all three of their group games after beating us on penalties to finish as group winners. We know that we can qualify as best runners up tomorrow, although that means we won’t be seeded. We won all four group games last season and were seeded but drew Dundee United so it shows you the tough ties you can get on both sides of the draw.”
Stranraer haven’t picked up a point in the Betfred Cup so far but Archie knows the squad will be fired up ahead of the trip to face Premiership opposition. A strong start will be needed to stop any nerves creeping around the stadium.
“Stranraer haven’t had the results they wanted so far in the group but they won’t need any motivation for tomorrow’s game. They have a number of players who have played at a higher level and will want to show that they can still perform against a high quality of opponent.
“It’s an opportunity for them to showcase what they can do. They’ll come and play without any fear to give it a go at Firhill. We’ll have to be strong and focussed on the task in hand to give ourselves the best chance to do what we want to achieve.
Abdul Osman returns from suspension and the gaffer admits that it is likely to be more of the same from the squad on Saturday.
“Abdul comes back into contention after his suspension but the squad is the same as the one that took on Airdrie on Tuesday. We were hoping to use this group to give some of the youngsters more game time but we’ve been in a position where we’ve had to win every game. We need to get the games won before we bring on young player.
“James Penrice started against Airdrie on Tuesday and did really well in what was a tough battle. He hasn’t done his chances any harm and he is the example for the other young players in how they can give me good selection headaches.”
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