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Match Reaction

Celtic v Partick Thistle – 20th December 2017

Partick Thistle travelled to Celtic Park this evening looking to climb off the foot of the Ladbrokes Premiership table. Three points would have taken the Jags above Ross County but it wasn’t to be for the Maryhill men as Celtic came out on top.

A first half goal from Stuart Armstrong and a second half strike by Kieran Tierney were the difference between the Glasgow sides as Thistle suffered a defeat which leaves them two points below the relegation play-off spot going into Saturday’s crunch match against Hamilton at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

Jags boss, Alan Archibald spoke to following the game.

To start, Alan gave us his view of the 90 minutes.

“We kept our shape fairly well throughout the game and our game plan was working for the first half hour. We wanted to frustrate the home crowd and you could hear some rumblings from the stands in the first half. Obviously, the goal then lifts the crowd. I was disappointed in the manner of the goal we conceded; I know that it was a great strike but we really should have been tighter to Armstrong.”

The gaffer was unhappy with the way the Jags used the ball as he felt they should have been more effective when they had the possession.

“Our ball retention was really poor and that’s probably the main reason that we had so few dangerous attacks. There have been times when we’ve lost heavily to Celtic with better play in possession than that which is disappointing. Even when we brought Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan on, we were dropping deeper which isolates them and destroys that bridge between midfield and attack. There were too many occasions when we looked scared to play the quick pass and instead went safe and backwards.”

Archie was, however, pleased with his side’s organisation. After some poor showings lately, the defense put in a good shift to limit Celtic’s creative forces.

“I was happy with the lads tonight, from a defensive viewpoint. Their shape was excellent and there was a focus and determination that has been missing in some games recently. The boys stuck to their tasks and were taking fewer risks. However, the key thing is that we have to show these qualities in games against the teams around us and not just when we visit Parkhead.”

The Thistle manager was also delighted to get through the game with no fresh injury concerns to contend with ahead of his side’s final three games of the year.

“It’s good to be making it through games with all the lads intact because most of them will have an important part to play over the next three matches. I took young Andy McCarthy off fairly early because he hasn’t played too many games recently and he was on a booking. The plan was always to get Chris Erskine on to try to use the ball a bit more. Martin Woods did pull out of the squad fairly late with a minor knock but we’ll need to assess that tomorrow to get a better idea of the problem.”

There was an element of controversy towards the end of the match as a moment of frustration saw Gary Fraser feel the ire of the home support. Archibald though was quick to defend the actions as foolish rather than malicious.

“He didn’t mean it. He tries to hit the board out of frustration that he’s taken a bad touch. I don’t think there was any malice in it, he’s not that type of lad.

“He shouldn’t have done it and we’ll deal with it. He’s not done it deliberately and he’s also tried to apologise at the end of the match. I think he’s tried to smash the ball off the wall in front of the fans and just misjudged it. Nobody in their right mind would try and do that from so close, especially with how hard Gary can hit a ball.”

Alan and his squad now turn their attentions to Saturday afternoon’s clash with Hamilton Accies at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill when they have another chance to pull themselves off the bottom of the table. Kick-off is 15:00 in Maryhill.

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

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