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Match Preview

Partick Thistle Vs Hearts – February 25th 2017

With Storm Doris battering much of the country Alan Archibald was grateful of the excuse to duck into some cover and talk to about the upcoming Ladbrokes Premiership clash with Hearts. Archibald started by joking that he hoped his side didn’t get the Gorgie Boys’ backlash after the derby defeat on Tuesday night.

Archibald said: “I think as a manager you always look for a reaction from your players after any defeat but especially after a massive game like that. I just hope we don’t feel the backlash on Saturday afternoon! Whenever we have had a bad performance over the years we always look to get a reaction and I don’t expect Hearts to be any different at all.”

“Getting three points at home against Hamilton Accies last week was a massive boost for us and it really gives us a platform to go and build on. Our home form has been disappointing this season but hopefully we can use the Accies game as a bit of a catalyst to go and turn that form around going into an absolutely crucial stage of the season for us.

“The result last week came in difficult conditions and we didn’t really get to play a lot of football – especially in the first half. Games can sometimes be like that though but first and foremost we need to go out there and earn the right to play our football. If we win the individual battles then we can go and start hurting teams. If we can do that this week then hopefully we can secure back to back home wins.”

Although Thistle’s record against Hearts in recent times is mixed Archie is keen not to let stats play too much on his mind in the run up to Saturday.

“We’ve played well against Hearts this season after never really laying a glove on them last term. That has been pleasing but it really means nothing come 3pm on Saturday. If we go out and play our own game then we are capable of hurting Hearts but we have to go into it with belief. We were very good against them at Tynecastle and their keeper was probably man of the match so we can take a bit of confidence from that.”

Finally Archibald gave us a run down on the state of his squad.

“The big change will be that Sean Welsh was in for surgery today (Thursday). He fractured his fifth metatarsal so will be out for a few weeks. It can be anywhere between eight and 12 for that kind of injury but we’re hoping it will be closer to eight. You’ve really got to feel for Sean but I think the injury tag that has been placed on him in the past is well and truly behind him now. He’s played just about every game for us over the last two seasons and has been one of our top performers this year.

“On the positive side of things Christie Elliott returns to the squad following the second game of his suspension. Other than that it’s just the longer term ones – Ryan Scully, Stuart Bannigan and Gary Fraser. Ryan is recovering well from his shoulder surgery and both Gary and Stuart have been doing some straight line running this week so we just need to keep an eye on their progress, none of them will be rushed though.”

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is now available to Jagzone subscribers. Log in now to see it. Jagzone members will also be able to watch highlights of the game from midnight.

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Saturday’s match will also be available on a pay per view basis, details of which can be found here.

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