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St Johnstone V Partick Thistle – 13th May 2017

It’s a trip to Perth this weekend for Alan Archibald’s Partick Thistle side with the Jags still on the hunt for their first top six victory despite two very positive performances against Hearts and Rangers. The Firhill gaffer spoke to and, unsurprisingly, McDiarmid Park was not the first topic up for discussion as overnight speculation linked Archibald to the vacant Swindon Town job.

“It was news to me and I haven’t heard a thing so at the moment it is purely speculation. I’ve got two years to go on my contract and neither the club nor I have heard anything so there really isn’t much to speak about to be honest.”

The one thing Archie was sure about was that whatever speculation was out there it wouldn’t affect his or the team’s focus ahead of Saturday.

“I think unless there is something solid to talk about you just get on with it as normal. I got a bit of stick off the players, you have a laugh about it and then you move on, that’s the way it goes. The club has made great strides in the last four seasons and we’re still progressing all the time. Each season we try and do a wee bit more whether it be around the stadium to make things look better or things like the training ground which is on the horizon now as well.

“It’s a good stable place to be and I have a good relationship with everyone here so if something concrete does come up it would take something very serious for me to think about leaving.”

Achieving a place in the top six is the latest in a series of superb achievements made by Archibald and his team but the ambitious 39-year-old knows there is still more to come across the club.

“There is definitely more room for growth but it’s the success of the first team that really drives everything forward. When the club stays in the Premiership it provides the basis and it feeds right down through the youth teams all through the Academy. That stability allows us to improve the facilities and everything around the stadium and things are getting better all the time. Being in the top six can only help that.

“We don’t get complacent and we still want to do everything we can but consistency is the most important thing and we need to keep that up going into next season. I think St Johnstone is still the benchmark for clubs like us and funnily enough we play them on Saturday.”

Late goals against Hearts and Rangers robbed Thistle of what could have been a perfect start to life in the top six and for Archibald there is no getting away from the disappointment.

“There was a lot of frustration and a bit of anger after the last game against Rangers on Sunday but when you watch it back we played a lot of really good stuff, particularly in the first half. The manner of how we lost the goals was obviously very disappointing but on the other hand there were plenty of positives to take too.”

It wasn’t just the gaffer who was attracting interest as rumours linking Liam Lindsay were also abound overnight.

“We’ve had some ongoing interest in Liam since January but no firm bids yet as far as I know. Good clubs are interested in him and long may that continue for him. We’re happy to have him for as long as we can and I certainly don’t think it would do Liam any harm at all to have another 30 or 40 games here so if it doesn’t happen then so be it.

“Every year he has got better and better and he has made the team of the year this year which I think just reflects exactly how well he has done for us. He’s a dream to work with and a real level headed lad who just wants to play the game. We invested in Liam and he invested in us and we’ve both been rewarded as some of his performances have been superb. Whatever happens will happen but he’s on a long deal so if he does go the club will be well rewarded and then it will be down to us to go and find the next Liam Lindsay.”

McDiarmid Park is the venue for Saturday and Archie is looking forward to returning to what has been a happy hunting ground for the Jags in recent seasons.

“Obviously we’re still looking for our first top six win and that continues on Saturday. We’ve been close in the last two games and probably haven’t ended up with the points we have deserved. There is certainly no complacency from us though and there isn’t any hint of it being job done. Ask me or any of the players and they want to go and win every game they play and this weekend will be no different.

“We’ve got a good record in Perth so we’ll go into the match in confident mood. Added to that is the fact we have a full squad to choose from and it’s probably one of the strongest we’ve had all season. Only the longer term ones are out of contention so we’re all really looking forward to what promises to be a really good game.”

An 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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Archie has committed, will you join him? 2017/18 season tickets are now on sale.

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