Friday 8th September, 2017 at 1:30pm
With the team leaving for the long trip to Dingwall late on Friday afternoon, ptfc.co.uk caught up with Alan Archibald before he took his team to the training ground to talk through an absolutely crucial Ladbrokes Premiership tie.
Fresh from the international break Archibald’s squad are raring to go but perhaps would have preferred to get straight back to playing after the Aberdeen defeat.
“The break probably came at a bad time for us to be honest. We’re obviously desperate to get our first league victory. After coming so close to getting something out of the Aberdeen game I think we would rather have gone straight into another game. It is what it is though and what it did do was allowed us to work on a few things.”
As the Jags still search for their first points in the campaign Archie knows how important a win in the Highlands could prove.
“We know the position we’re in in terms of our league position and the fact we haven’t got any points on the board yet. The longer that goes on the more the press ask about it and the more of an issue it becomes so we just want to put it to bed ASAP. We aren’t the only ones though, County will be desperate as well, they’ve only on once so it really will be a tough contest.
“The good thing is that one win gets us right into the pack but that won’t be the case for long and we need to get it done. We’ve had a tough run but every game is tough in this league. This is a game – and Jim will say the same about us – that we can really target for a win.
“County are one of our rivals and one of the teams I would expect to be around us come the end of the season so it’s one of those where it’s a real six pointer that we are desperate to win.”
After achieving a much coveted top six place last season the gaffer know how tough the league is shaping up to be this term.
“It looks like the league is going to shape up in a similar way to last season in that there will be two or three teams fighting at the top then not a lot between all of the others. We need to make sure that we are right in the pack behind those top teams to try and emulate our success from last season.”
It seemed as though Thistle held the hex over County last season as the Jags didn’t lose a single game to the Staggies.
“County are a team we had a good record against last season. We had them twice at home and didn’t lose against them. It’s always a tight game though and over the years the record is probably fairly even.
“We had a great victory up there in December last year and it really changed our season around. I’m hoping for a similar performance and result this time around to really give us something to build on. Having said that there have been plenty of positives already, particularly from the Aberdeen game. We scored three good goals but we have ti be better at shutting the door on teams. A lot of that comes down to consistency in selection as I don’t think we’ve been able to field the same defensive unit more than once this season. It’s not an excuse though as there is plenty of quality in our squad outside of injuries to get results in this league.”
Despite having had terrible luck with injuries so far this season there is some light at the end of the tunnel for a couple of the longer term crocks.
“There is a bit of good news on the injury front actually. Gary Fraser has returned to training with the squad. it’s all non-contact just now so he’s nowhere near selection but even just having him back kicking a ball is such a good progression from where he was. Mustapha Dumbuya has also started running this week so hopefully he isn’t too far away either.”
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