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Match Preview

Stenhousemuir v Partick Thistle – 14th July 2018

Competitive football is almost here with Partick Thistle’s Betfred Cup opener at Ochilview tomorrow marking the beginning of the 2018/19 season. A summer of rebuilding has proved tough work for the management staff at Thistle but seven new faces and a list of exciting retained players mean the Jags are almost ready for the new campaign. With a tough group including Greenock Morton and League One winners, Ayr United, there is no doubt that this year’s group stage will be a tough one for the Maryhill men but that doesn’t mean the squad isn’t looking forward to it. Thistle gaffer, Alan Archibald, spoke to ahead of this weekend’s trip to Stenhousemuir.

Alan began by telling us that there is a feeling of excitement in the squad ahead of the first Betfred Cup game with the disappointment of last season having been quickly cast aside as the squad was rebuilt.

“We’re all looking forward to getting back into it. I think after three weeks of pre-season, the players are ready for it and thanks to the Betfred Cup, we aren’t left sitting around waiting for the new season because we kick it off in mid-July.”

With a shorter turnover than ever, Alan feels the quick pre-season has made it easier to lift the mood around the club.

“We didn’t have much time to dwell on last season which has been a good thing. We had to get stuck into work very quickly after the season’s end and that helped us move on. Ultimately, although we have to learn from last season, we had to turn the atmosphere around and we’ve done that. It helps that the squad is almost brand new, but we’ve added some good characters to the team and a good number of lads who know the league, which we think will be important.”

The gaffer noted that although it’s been great to refresh the squad, he knows it will take a little bit of time for the team to properly gel in competitive games.

“There will be a period of our guys growing as a team. We have so many new parts that it’s inevitable that certain players will need time to develop partnerships and understandings with teammates. Pre-season games are useful for a number of reasons but I don’t think you really know a teammate as a player until you’ve been in a competitive environment with them and the Betfred Cup gives us the chance to get our guys minutes alongside each other in those situations.”

Alan said that although Saturday’s team won’t be the finished article, he will be hoping to see the right style of football from the boys who are out on that pitch.

“We obviously want to see them play football. The squad isn’t finished; everyone knows that but we have to try to find our identity quickly. We have a couple of injury doubts. Cammy Bell is fifty-fifty and a couple of others might not make it but with Andy McCarthy and Shea Gordon coming back in we should still have enough out there to win and, hopefully, win with a bit of style.”

This weekend’s game marks the start of the 2018/19 season for Partick Thistle. The Jags travel to Ochilview to take on Stenhousemuir tomorrow with kick-off at 15:00.

More exclusive preview interviews with Aaron Lennox, James Penrice and Jags gaffer, Alan Archibald, are available to Jagzone subscribers –  log in now to see them.

Jagzone members will also be able to watch extended highlights of the game.

Can’t make it to Ochilview? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 2:30pm on Saturday.

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