Saturday 15th March, 2014 at 2:45pm
Having just watched his side record back to back home wins for the first time this season it was an understandably very happy Thistle manager Alan Archibald that [link:HOME] spoke to after yesterday’s 3-1 win over Hibs.
“I’m delighted with back to back home wins, that’s something that we’ve been waiting on all season. We got used to it last season and if we started winning at home a little earlier in the season we wouldn’t be in as bad a position as we are right now.”
Does our win drag Hibs into the fight to avoid the dreaded play-off spot?
“It probably does; it certainly puts pressure on them to win games just like the rest of us.”
“I thought that Hibs started really well and I thought they were the better team. They worked harder and pressed us better than we pressed them and we gave them too much space. When we did get hold of the ball we didn’t take care of it. That’s something that we talked about at half-time. One thing that we are very good at is passing the ball, first touch and moving the ball quickly and we didn’t do that. I don’t think that the pitch helped, without wanting to give excuses, as much as it looks really good now, it got a bit of sun this week, it is really bobbly in the middle and it dries out and that kind of stops us playing. When we did play you could see what we were capable of. There was a bit of good play and a chance before the goal and the goal itself was wonderful.”
The breezy overhead conditions didn’t make it any easier either. Said Alan;
“It didn’t help but when conditions are like that and things aren’t going your way then you need to dig in and I thought we did that. We limited Hibs, I don’t think they really had a shot on goal. It was two really dangerous crosses that caused us problems that Paul Gallacher dealt with well.”
Most Thistle hearts were in mouths when Stephen O’Donnell nearly put through his own net to give Hibs an equaliser. It was a rare break for Thistle this season.
“I just said to the players that we’ve been punished for our mistakes probably more than any other team this season. I said to them that perhaps this was a turning point for us getting a break. It was a good save from Paul Gallacher in any case.”
The third goal, after withstanding some heavy Hibs pressure, was the icing on the cake.
“I thought it was on for us in the first half to catch them on the break with the likes of Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan able to get right at them. You can only catch teams on the break if you have great defending as well and Hibs did have us under pressure with, I think, about 5 or 6 corners in a row. I felt at that point that our fans behind the goal were outstanding as they could see that we were under a bit of pressure from those corners and they were singing and getting right behind us and I think that that helped us.”
Hibs strength at corner kicks was something that Alan and his backroom staff had looked very closely at in the lead up to the game.
“It was something that we had looked at and we had analysed Hibs. I think they’ve scored from corners in about one game in every five which is incredible. They are very, very good at corners and it is a credit to our back four, in fact a credit to the whole team, that we were able to hold out really well and that allowed Kallum Higginbotham to go on and score in the last minute.”
Next up for Thistle is a trip up to the Highlands and a fixture against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. It’s a match that the team will be approaching with added confidence on the back of a couple of excellent home wins.
“I said to the players that if your home form is good that allows you to go into away and starting pinching a point and win here and there. It takes pressure off your away form which we’ve relied on heavily this season and we shouldn’t have had to. Our home form now means that we can go into next week’s game with real confidence.”