Saturday 9th March, 2013 at 9:32pm
Until Steven Lawless made it 2-0 with around 15 minutes of yesterday’s game remaining there were a few nerves around Firhill.
When speaking to [link:HOME] after the game Alan Archibald, the Irn-Bru Manager of the Month, admitted there was a bit of pressure around but was delighted with the way his players handled it.
“The players are playing under pressure and you can tell that. We knew it was going to be like that, there is a lot at stake. It’s just a case of getting the players to still pass the ball. It’s hard when there is that pressure but I thought you saw the difference when it went 2-0. That released the pressure. The main thing is that they ground out the result and worked hard as a unit across the pitch.”
The manager was delighted with yet another clean sheet.
“That’s four in a row now which is really pleasing and the two that we did concede in the first game were both set pieces. It’s a young defence and with the exception of Scott Fox they are all under 23. We are on to them all the time to communicate with each other more. As young players that’s something that they don’t do enough off. They do enough talking off the pitch but they don’t on the pitch, and that includes talking to the midfielders in front of them. As I said, we’re on at them all the time about that but not in a negative way but just to encourage them to be positive.”
Chris Erskine missed yesterday’s game and that perhaps blunted slightly Thistle’s creative edge. Said Alan;
“I think any team would miss Chris Erskine he brings so much to the team. It was an opportunity for other boys on the sidelines to step in and I thought they did well. James Craigen wasn’t playing in his best position but I thought that he gave a good shift and when he moved into the centre I thought that he was even better. All the subs too did well. I spoke to them and I got a good reaction from them; every one of them was positive when they came on.”
Christie Elliott in particular made a big impact when he came on.
“I’ve had a couple of chats with Christie. Obviously he’s been out the picture and not been stripped at times. It’s hard for him and I said to him that I haven’t really changed much because those starting had earned their place in the team because they had been so good this season. I said though that with seven games this month he would get his chance and that came today and I thought he grasped that chance. I felt he was different class when he came on.”
There was a welcome goal for Kris Doolan, another of Alan’s second half substitutes.
“Dools is just Dools. He works hard all the time. He’s another one that has found it hard as Steven Craig has come in and has a great record. Kris though is positive in everything that he does and he never, ever shirks away from things and he deserved his goal today.”
We move on now to Tuesday’s match with Raith Rovers with the opportunity to move back to the top of the league ahead of another couple of away game but Alan isn’t allowing his focus to drift away from Tuesday’s game.
“I think Morton showed when they lost at Hamilton that points are going to be dropped between now and the end of the season. You see how hard Dumbarton made it for us today and all the teams that are fighting for their lives are going to be like that. We know how hard it’s going to be on Tuesday but it is the old cliché, we really will just take one game at a time. Raith make it really hard for us every time that we play them and we know that we are going to have to work really hard if we want the three points on Tuesday. We got a good point there the last time that we played them and we will be positive and we are certainly looking for the win.”
And what of the two injured players that missed the win over Dumbarton?
“Paul Paton I’m not sure whether he is going to make it on Tuesday. With a back spasm Chris Erskine could be out for one day, he could be out for five days. So I’ve really no idea about him. All the players are in tomorrow and hopefully everything should be a bit clearer by Monday.”