Wednesday 1st January, 2014 at 2:33pm
Sunday’s heavy defeat at the hands of Motherwell hurt all associated with the Club. Pride was severely dented but some of that pride was regained with a brave performance against Celtic at Parkhead. [link:HOME] caught up with manager Alan Archibald after the game and he was delighted with the response he received from his players.
“First and foremost I have to say that it was great reaction and response from the players. They got a lot of pride back in themselves and in the club after such a bad result against Motherwell. It showed a lot of courage after that result to go out and play as they did where they still wanted to get on the ball. I’m very proud of them. They are a young group and many of them had never played at Parkhead before today. To come here and play like that after such a bad result speaks volumes for their character; which was outstanding.”
“I’m disappointed to be standing here though merely taking plaudits for how we played at Parkhead because I thought that we deserved to take at least a point from the game. We created enough chances to do so. I’ve been here before and I’ve never seen as many chances created. I know some of those chances weren’t as clear cut as you would like them to be but in terms of coming to Parkhead I think they were very, very good chances.”
In an afternoon in which he didn’t have too much to do Scott Fox had an important save to make inside the first minute of the game.
“It was vital that we started well and it was vital that we didn’t concede early and that save that Scott Fox made right at the start was very important. Apart from that Scott didn’t have a lot to do and it took a 25 yard effort to beat him.”
It was Celtic that were the happier side to hear the full-time whistle with Thistle searching for an equaliser right up to the finish. Said Alan;
“I thought that we pushed them all the way. Christie Elliott has had a shout for a penalty. I thought at the time that it was a foul but I didn’t realise that it happened just inside the box. It was a definite foul but you don’t get that kind of decision at Parkhead, we all know that.”
A few eyebrows were raised pre-match when people saw the manager’s team selection and Aaron Muirhead occupying a role in the Thistle midfield.
“Aaron is one of those players that when he plays at the back is very comfortable with the football. Since Isaac Osbourne has been out we’ve missed his dig in the midfield and sometime in the middle of the park you miss a bit of organisation and someone to come in and fill the gaps. That’s why we played Aaron there today. We’ve been thinking of doing that for the last couple of weeks and I thought that he did well. He hasn’t played the last couple of weeks but he went in there in a role that is not normal for him in a hard arena to play and I thought that he stuck to his guns and did really well.”
There was a positive performance too from new boy Lyle Taylor.
“Lyle filled the loan striker area. We knew that we could get at Celtic in the wide areas because they tend to over commit with their full backs when they are at home and leave gaps. That’s why we played Lyle and it was could to give him that time on the bench and also good to give Kris Doolan a wee rest as he’s being carrying the burden of the loan striker all season. I was delighted too that David Wilson made his debut today. He ‘s really deserved that after playing so well for the under 20s.”
Focus now is on an incredibly important run of matches coming up starting with a trip to Tynecastle at the weekend.
“We’ve got four massive games coming up starting with Hearts this coming Sunday and we are going to have to utilise everyone in the squad”, said the Thistle manager who was also full praise for the noisy Thistle support at Parkhead.
“They were very noisy throughout the game. The numbers weren’t low but I know that a number of Thistle fans were struggling to get tickets for the game. Those that were there were in fine fettle and in good voice; we heard them right through the game and that’s something the players were talking about after the match.”