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Match Preview

Partick Thistle Vs Hibernian – 2nd December 2017

With no game last weekend Alan Archibald was forced to watch results unfold across Scotland without having the chance to have his own say. That changes this week though as Ladbrokes Premiership action finally returns to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill with the visit of Hibs.

Although Archie’s Jags side have only faced two game this month, the Thistle gaffer is looking forward to a hectic festive schedule as he told before training on Friday morning.

“We’re going to be pretty constant through December but we’re definitely looking forward to it and it’s just good to get back to playing games to be honest. With a bit of luck we’ll have a few players back and that will be a massive boost too.

“We’re going to need as many players back as we can because eight games in a month would put a strain on even the largest of squads. It isn’t just injuries at this time of year though as bookings and suspensions start to come into the equations too – especially for your defenders. No doubt we’ll lose a couple through accumulation of cautions over the course so we really need everybody.”

It’s no secret that injuries have caused Archie some major issues this season but, as we enter December, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

“Abdul isn’t in with the group yet as we have to wait for the surgeon’s OK with regards to him having full strength in his shoulder. The good thing though is that he is now able to progress on the cardio front so, as soon as we get the OK in terms of strength it should be a quick process for getting him back involved and we’d probably then only be looking at a week or two.

“We’re having to manage Kris Doolan a little bit at the moment as he is having a bit of trouble with his knee. That’s an ongoing issue though so we just need to balance it as best we can at this stage, The other positive is that we will hopefully be looking at getting Stuart Bannigan back by somewhere in mid December which will give us a huge boost.”

With only two games in December Thistle were forced to sit out last weekend’s scheduled fixture against Celtic as Brendan Rodger’s men lifted the Betfred Cup, meaning that crucial points were dropped against league rivals. However, it isn’t something the Jags boss is letting disrupt preparations.

“It has been frustrating in recent weeks watching other teams pick up points while we haven’t been playing but all we can do is control what is in our power which starts on Saturday against a very good Hibs side. I went to see them first hand last week and they were very good. It’ll no doubt be a tough match but we’re at home so we just need to make the most of that.

“I was very impressed with them last week as I say and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen against a Hamilton team which is, in itself, a tough place to go. They passed the ball really well and they’ve got a good squad to cover when the likes of McGInn have to drop out. I think you saw that on the first day of the season when we didn’t really perform to our best. Hopefully we can put that right on Saturday.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Chris Erskine, Niall Keown 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 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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