Friday 2nd August, 2013 at 2:00pm
Last night’s game didn’t produce the Thistle win that we were all so much hoping for but manager Alan Archibald, when speaking to [link:HOME] after the game, was still very pleased with the performance of his players; a performance that he feels they should take pride and belief from.
“I’m absolutely delighted with them, I thought that they were a credit to themselves and to the Club. I thought that they worked ever so hard. All the stuff that we worked on they did what we asked of them. All that was missing was the goal and we know that they are hard to come by in the Premier League, but I thought the players were outstanding.”
“We stressed to the players all week to relax and pass the ball. When they get uptight they don’t play; we saw that last season in the Ramsdens Cup Final. Getting them to relax and pass the ball was the main thing and I thought they did that. For spells I felt that they controlled the game.”
We wondered if it had been a conscious decision from the manager to start with so many of last season’s squad?
“I think they deserved it. Some of the new players aren’t quite fit yet anyway but I thought that the boys that got us here last season deserved their chance and I thought they stood up brilliantly to the challenge.”
The one starter who wasn’t part of last season’s squad was teenager Gary Fraser and the manager was very impressed with the performance of the on loan midfielder.
“He’s only turned 19 as well. I was so keen to get him and I was disappointed, to be fair, when he went to Bolton but luckily enough he had enjoyed his time with us pre-season so much that the first thing he did when he signed for Bolton was to say he wanted to come back on loan. I think you could see tonight the qualities that he has. For a 19 year old to put in a performance like that is just outstanding.”
Although the goal didn’t come the manager was certainly not unhappy with the performance of the two strikers he deployed during the course of the game. Alan commenting;
“We had watched United a couple of times and we had done our analysis on them and we knew that if we could get balls into the box we could possibly cause them problems. I thought that both Kris Doolan and John Baird were handfuls for their centre backs and we didn’t quite get the break of the ball on a few occasions.”
Alan was naturally pleased not to have conceded a goal.
“Getting a clean sheet into the bargain was pleasing against probably one of the top teams in the league in terms of attacking options at the top end of the pitch. When players like MacKay-Stevens can’t even get on the pitch at the start of the game and that just shows the quality that they have.”
The Thistle manager too is going to have a few selection headaches once everyone is fully tuned up for the season ahead.
“I stressed last year when I got the job that we had to be a squad and that if we got 3 or 4 injuries we would have to mix things up and that’s going to happen this season. Everyone will get a chance.”
Will changes be made for Tuesday’s League Cup tie with Ayr United?
“We’ve got a few knocks anyway so I think we will have to make a few changes.”