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Match Preview

Stranraer v Partick Thistle – 14th August 2018

Partick Thistle secured their first league win of the season at the weekend as they overcame the challenge of Falkirk at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill but now look towards cup action as their Irn-Bru Cup campaign kicks off away to Stranraer. The Jags travel to Stair Park aiming to build on Saturday’s victory by progressing to the next stage of the season’s second cup competition. Stranraer should provide tough opposition with the Blues performing admirably in the Betfred Cup group stages, beating Motherwell on penalties on one occasion. Thistle manager, Alan Archibald spoke to ahead of the clash.

Archie began by telling us that his side won’t take Stranraer lightly and they know that beating the Blues won’t be easy.

“We’re expecting a very tough match like last season when we played them at home. It was a tight game on that day and we needed a late goal which goes to show how difficult it can be in these games. Stranraer did well in this season’s Betfred Cup and they caught Motherwell out so we know we have to be careful when approaching this match.”

The gaffer thinks his side might not be able to play the football they want to on the Stair Park pitch and knows that tonight’s game is just about progression in the Irn-Bru Cup.

“Ultimately, we have to win by any means. It probably won’t be pretty but as long as we get through I’ll be happy. We can’t use that as an excuse because it’s a match we should win and it’s up to our boys to perform when they get out on the park.”

Alan thinks Saturday’s victory against Falkirk has boosted the squad’s confidence and hopes to sustain that confidence with victory this evening.

“We started well in the first three games but then those two defeats to Ayr suddenly give things a different look. It hurt the guys because they’re all hungry lads who want to win every game and the manner of defeat meant they were feeling disappointed in themselves. However, that win on Saturday changes the mood again. We were the much better team and the guys enjoyed the game. Now they’re raring to go again.”

We then asked the manager about new recruit Andréa Mbuyi-Mutombo, who penned a one-year deal on Sunday and will come into contention for tonight’s fixture.

“Andréa is a unique player who I hope can contribute plenty over the season. He can play a number of positions, whether that be on either wing, at centre forward or just in behind the striker. He’s a very creative player who loves to take his man on. He’d been on trial with us for a while and you see it in training; he can just glide past defenders. He’s shown a real desire in training and he’s desperate to get playing so hopefully he can channel that into some quality performances.”

We then discussed the captaincy with Archie as he explained his decision to appoint both a Club captain, in Kris Doolan and a team captain, in Christie Elliott.

“During the summer, I decided that I wanted to have a Club captain and I thought Dools was the perfect man for that role. The Club captain will act as the club’s figurehead; the man who represents the Club within the dressing room and to the media. However, I wanted a team captain as well. A player on the park who can lead by example and I prefer the team captain to be a defender or sitting midfielder so Christie stood out as the best candidate. He’s matured during his time at the Club, played all manner of positions and has a great respect for the fans. Over the past couple of years he’s really broken away from the squad player tag and become a starter and becoming team captain is a symbol of that journey.”

More exclusive preview interviews with Andréa Mbuyi-Mutombo, Blair Spittal 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 to Stair Park? Jagzone members can listen to live audio commentary of the match. JagZoneLIVE begins at 7:30pm on Tuesday night.

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