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Match Reaction

Celtic v Partick Thistle – 10th February 2018

Partick Thistle moved out of the Ladbrokes Premiership’s bottom two spots last Saturday with a draw at Motherwell and the Jags looked to make progress in a different competition today as they took on Celtic in the William Hill Scottish Cup. It was never going to be an easy game but the Jags made things even tougher on themselves by conceding two in the opening ten minutes. Kris Doolan pulled on back for the visitors as he latched onto a poor Jozo Simunovic backpass. Celtic restored their two-goal advantage just after the break as James Forrest completed a hat-trick but a Conor Sammon goal within the final ten minutes had Thistle dreaming of an unlikely comeback, however, despite plenty of pushing, the Maryhill men were unable to get the equaliser and as a result now find themselves out of the Scottish Cup. Jags boss, Alan Archibald spoke to following a rollercoaster of a match.

Alan started by telling us that although he can look on most of the match positively, the dreadful start to the game can’t be ignored as it ultimately handed Celtic the win.

“I was impressed with the performance if I cast that first 15 minutes out of my head. We stressed to the players that Celtic would be fired up after losing last week and they would look to attack early. Of course, they have plenty of attacking talent and any team in Scotland would struggle to deal with them at full power but you can’t excuse conceding twice in the first ten minutes.”

The gaffer was impressed with the way his side rebounded from going two down and thought that they’re fighting spirit was commendable.

“They showed great character to get back into the game and once we calmed down and got ourselves bedded in, we looked competitive and we were attacking with real intent at certain points. Getting the goal back helped as it gave us that little boost we needed and going into the break with the game still to play for was brilliant because half-time felt a long time away at ten minutes in.”

Archie then touched on Kris Doolan and Conor Sammon. Both men are on form at the moment with Doolan now on two in his last two starts and Conor having scored five since returning from the winter break. Alan admits that it makes it difficult when selecting a frontline but says that having an option like Conor off the bench, as it was today, allows Thistle to push opponents to the final whistle.

“It feels unfair to leave either of them out but they’re both excellent professionals and they understand that there will be times when they’ll start and times when they’ll be on the bench. Kris had a lot of work to do today and took his goal well but I felt around the hour mark was the right time to bring Conor on so we could continue to hassle their defenders. Conor’s goal was a well-taken one as well and even though we lost today, it’s good to see the strikers continue their scoring with some vital games coming up.”

The manager then talked us through his view of Ryan Edwards’ late chance. The Australian got on the end of a great Chris Erskine cross and had it not been for some good defensive play, he might have taken the tie to a replay.

“It was excellent play by Chris Erskine on the left and a terrific ball in. Ryan gets himself into the six-yard box and that’s where you want him. At first I thought that maybe Ryan should have done better but I’ve seen it back and it’s great defending from Kieran Tierney who gets his leg across.”

With Thistle now out of the Scottish Cup, the Jags are entirely focussed on league action for the remainder of the season as they look to avoid the Ladbrokes Premiership’s bottom two positions. The Maryhill men are back in action next Saturday as Dundee come to Glasgow. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

A more in depth video interview with Alan Archibald is available now to Jagzone subscribers and will be followed by reaction from Ryan Edwards and Conor Sammon. Log in now to see it as soon as it is available.

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