Wednesday 6th August, 2014 at 6:44pm
Thistle’s pre-season came to a satisfying conclusion with a comfortable victory over a Sunderland XI and focus now is firmly on the start of the competitive action in a week’s time. [link:HOME] caught up with manager Alan Archibald after the Sunderland game and we asked him if he was relieved that pre-season was now over?
“I’m delighted actually. It becomes a long time and with the Celtic game postponed it basically means that our pre-season has been an extra week long. We obviously had the boys back for pre-season before we knew what the fixtures were changed. It’s been a long time but the boys are now raring to go and we now need a real game.”
How did Alan feel pre-season went?
“It is what it is. Pre-season is all about getting the players fit and get them playing the way that we want them to play and we’ve done that. They did that tonight and I felt that we moved the ball about really well.”
“It was certainly a useful exercise and we’ve now got a week until the competitive action starts and we had that in mind tonight and wanted to give all the boys a bit of game time. We managed to do that and although that does tend to break the game up a bit I thought that we were actually better in the second half in the way that we moved the ball about. It could have been a couple more if we had taken our chances.”
Alan went on;
“I was very pleased with Steven Lawless when he came on and Sunderland found him very hard to deal with. When Stevie is on song like that he is very hard to play against.”
Young Dale Keenan had a hand in Thistle’s opening goal and the manager was impressed not just with Dale’s contribution but that of all the young players over the course of pre-season.
“It was a cracking cross from Dale. He’s one of those players that we’re still trying to find his best position. He played in midfield for the under 20s the other night and he was outstanding in there and he can play as centre back as well as at left back. The form of all the young lads has been an added bonus this pre-season. I think you can really see the benefit of them playing in the under 20 league last season and we’ve now got 4 or 5 in and around the first team squad which is fantastic. They are starting to knock on the door of the first team now. Last season it was too early for them but now we’ve got a few that we wouldn’t be scared to throw in. The whole of pre-season they’ve stood up and been counted and I think the first team boys have also realised what good players they are.”
What of the contribution of the two new additions to the first team squad?
“We moved Ryan Stevenson up top tonight because we wanted to change things about I thought that James Craigen got in touch with him well and that led to the goal. Abdul Osman meantime has settled in really well. He’s a wee bit behind fitness wise because he started a week later than us so we’ve gradually given him more game time and he’s looked sharper and sharper. He can mix it up. He can go and play but he can also go and be aggressive as well.”
The manager is naturally keen to make further additions to group of players.
“We are desperate to add to the squad there is no doubt about that at all but I want any one that we bring in to be the same quality of the two that we have already brought in and that’s what we have been waiting on. We’ve had a number of knock backs but we’ll get there. I know it’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for myself and I imagine that it is frustrating for the fans as well but I just want to add the right ones. I’m a great one for trying to get players in early and get them used to the shape that we want to play and we could have done that but they might not have been the right players or the right quality and that’s why we are waiting to try and get the right ones in. We’ve obviously got until the end of August to bring in players but I would rather get a couple in before we start next Wednesday. I will be delighted if we can get them in but it is a slow process but we shouldn’t forget that we’ve got good players here already. We played virtually two teams tonight.”
Our opponents next Wednesday, Ross County, have made a number of changes to their squad and a free weekend will give Alan the opportunity to take a look at them and other forthcoming opponents.
“I see that County have brought the lad Kiss back who we know about but they’ve also brought in a number of players that we don’t know about so we’ll get a chance to have a look at them at the weekend and with the fixtures split over the weekend we’ll also get a chance to have a look at Dundee as well.”