Wednesday 10th April, 2013 at 9:42pm
When [link:HOME] spoke with Alan Archibald after last night’s win the sound of celebrating Thistle fans, even some 30 minutes or so after the final whistle, were clearly audible in the background. It was in sharp contrast to the bitter disappointment of Sunday, the manager himself commenting;
“You couldn’t make it up. To go from the low of Sunday to the high of that is just incredible. The boys are a credit to themselves and a credit to the club with the way the bounced back from 120 minutes of football on Sunday.”
There was praise from the manager for his players overall fitness during what has been demanding run of fixtures.
“I’ve said all along that I know how fit the boys are. They’ve showed great energy levels throughout the season. They showed that again tonight right to the last minute. They were chasing down things and working for each other. My only concern with the games mounting up and with all the games in hand was if we picked up knocks along the way, not with the players overall fitness.”
Like most of us the manager was blown away by the level of support last night and the size of the crowd.
“Even going back to the two promotions I was part of there wasn’t a turn out of Thistle fans like that. There was never a turn out like that for just one game. Probably the last time was the Ayr United game when we got relegated. I remember the kick-off being delayed that day and people walking across the pitch. At least there was a better ending tonight than there was that day.”
Did the delay to the kick-off upset the preparations any?
“Not really, I was aware that it might happen. Ian Maxwell said to be today that there might be a hold up. There’s a lot of nervous energy with the lads and it’s not a great thing to do. You need to decide whether you stay on the pitch for a bit longer or go back into the dressing room when you can seize up a bit. I thought that the players reacted to it well though.”
The winning goal was scored by James Craigen a player who has really made a big impact over the last couple of months. Said Alan;
“James was the first player to chap my door after Jackie left. I hadn’t really changed the team and when he came to see me I told him that he would get his chance and he has done and since he grabbed that chance he has been outstanding. His energy levels were fantastic again tonight and I was delighted that he got the goal.”
There was praise too for Andy Dowie who was making his Thistle debut, second time around, last night.
“It was his first game in a few weeks and he’s not played a game with the lads and we’ve not, with the way things have been going with all the games, had what I would call a proper training session. He just went into the team and slotted right in and I thought he was outstanding. Andy had been coming to all the games, had been seeing the way that we play and that shows great professionalism and I thought that he helped the team tonight.”
Five points clear is a strong position to be in at this late stage of the season but nobody at Firhill is thinking that the job has been done; far from it.
“I said to Allan Moore that this game wasn’t a title decider by any means; we all know what this league is like. One bad result for us and one good result for them allows them to get back at us the way that our draw at Raith Rovers last week did. It is very much a case of one game at a time and we have a score to settle at Airdrie as we dropped points there the last time when we had a wee bad run earlier in the season.”
After the players’ efforts last night, and over the course of the last few months, Thursday means a well deserved day off for them.
“It was always our plan to give them a day off tomorrow regardless of the result. They’ve probably be in seven days a week over the last couple of months. We don’t seem to have picked up any knocks last night and any that have will be in but the players have really looked after themselves the last couple of months.”