Wednesday 26th July, 2017 at 12:10am
With the Ladbrokes Premiership season approaching unforgivingly and an injury list that must feel never-ending Alan Archibald has a lot on his plate at the moment, however, all his attention over the past few days has been on his side’s trip to the Excelsior Stadium to take on Airdrieonians in their third Betfred Cup game of the season and his hard work and rigorous planning has paid off. Thistle came out 2-1 victors against the Diamonds as the Jags took one step closer to qualifying for the next round as one of the competition’s best runners up. Goals from Kris Doolan and Blair Spittal were enough for the Jags to come out on top despite a resurgence of sorts from Airdrie in the second half that included a Dean Cairns goal in the 54th minute. After the match, Alan spoke to ptfc.co.uk to give his thoughts on the evening.
With tonight’s game ending up as a very different contest to Saturday’s demolition of St. Mirren, Archie hopes that his side will learn from the different scenarios that they’ve found themselves in so far in the Betfred Cup.
“It was a very different type of game to Saturday’s and a lot of that was down to shape. Airdrie changed their shape and we have to learn to deal with mid-match alterations made by our opposition. I didn’t think we adapted well enough, we played into their hands at times. We were trying to play intricate, one-touch play and it just wasn’t the right situation for that sort of play but it gives us more practice going into the season and it gives us a chance to look at how we reacted to certain things. We’ll analyse it, we’ll watch through it and talk to the boys about what we see.”
Although his team failed to keep a clean sheet against lower league opponents, Archie isn’t stressing as he knows with Niall Keown still to come into the fray and time left in the transfer window, the current backline isn’t necessarily the finished product.
“We had young James Penrice playing centre-half which wasn’t ideal but we thought it was worth it to get Adam Barton back into the midfield as he hasn’t really had a chance to get back to grips with that positon since last season. I thought James did ever so well as I thought Andy Ryan was trying to give him problems all game long. That being said, I was disappointed with the goal. It’s always angering to concede from a set piece but hopefully that won’t become a regular occurrence.”
Despite his team scoring just twice opposed to Saturday’s five, the gaffer was still pleased with how the attacking players operated tonight.
“The forward thinking players were good again this evening. Their link-up play was good but they just need to pick the right moments and recognise when it’s best to try some interplay and when it’s best to just hang onto the ball. When they do find the right time, they can really put teams to the sword.”
Alan was also quick to express his pleasure regarding his team’s reaction to their disappointing draw with Livingston, winning both games since that fixture.
“We’re in a pretty good position now. After we dropped those points at Livi we knew that it was going to be in their hands and credit to them, they’ve won every other game. Now with the best runners up spot within our grasp, we know what we must do. We have to win against Stranraer on Saturday and that’s plenty of motivation right there.”
As the Thistle boss mentioned, the Jags next face Stranraer at Firill on Saturday with kick-off at 15:00.
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