Wednesday 9th August, 2017 at 12:56am
After Alan Archibald’s Partick Thistle progressed to the round of 16 in the Betfred Cup via one of the best runners-up places, they were drawn away to St. Johnstone. The fourth placed side from last season’s Premiership represented a very difficult midweek trip, especially considering the game was to be played in Perth. However, despite the tough draw, Thistle were up to the challenge. Second half goals from Steven Lawless, Ryan Edwards and Chris Erskine gave the Jags victory and progression to the quarter-finals. Thistle boss, Alan Archibald, spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the successful cup outing.
At the weekend, in the side’s Ladbrokes Premiership opener, Thistle slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Easter Road and Alan Archibald is happy to see his team bounce back so emphatically.
“We asked the players for a reaction and I think we got it tonight. It was a disappointing weekend for us but the lads are an honest bunch so we went through the footage on Sunday and identified some areas where we needed to improve. Thankfully, the players made the improvements we talked about.”
Archie was especially complimentary of Ryan Edwards who came into the team for the game, having missed Saturday’s clash through suspension, and played a vital role in midfield as well as grabbing the Jags’ second goal.
“I thought Ryan made a difference tonight with his energy in the middle of the park. He’s had an up and down pre-season, he’ll tell you that himself but I’m glad he got that great performance under his belt. As for the goal, it’s something he’ll try every so often. I think he hit the bar last season with a similar attempt but I’m pleased for him to have got the goal, especially in such style.”
The gaffer also wanted to stress just how important Ryan is to the team having missed him dearly on Saturday.
“Last season he was integral to the team’s success. I think he had the most combined minutes out of everyone in the squad so that tells you how valuable he is to the team. Last year he lacked a bit of quality with his final pass or shooting but I think that aspect of his game has been improving since January so hopefully we can start reaping the rewards of that more regularly. There’s definitely plenty still to come from Ryan.”
Alan was also pleased with the performance of Kevin Nisbet who started up front in place of the injured Kris Doolan.
“Kevin took a bit of stick at the weekend but he’s just a young lad and we have to remember that. Either way, I thought he answered his critics tonight. His work rate and energy was excellent against two experienced, strong centre-backs and he gave them a hard time for the full game.”
Archie now sees his side enter their second cup quarter-final in two seasons. Last campaign his side got to the quarter-finals of the Scottish Cup where they were put out by Aberdeen. Despite that defeat earlier this year, Archibald hopes his side learned from that experience.
“We hope the lads have taken something from that game as it was a big occasion for the club and the fans. It was a tough draw we got and hopefully we don’t get such a difficult one in this competition. Nevertheless, tonight we performed excellently and hopefully we can use this to help us improve our away showings going forward.”
The manager ended by giving an update on Daniel Devine’s condition. The defender was forced off the park in the first half due to an injury he picked up in a clash with David Wotherspoon.
“Hopefully, it’s just an impact injury. We thought he’d opened up his medial but since he was able to play for a bit after it, it seemed to be just a bang. We decided to take him off because you could see he was struggling and we had Niall Keown on the bench so there was no point in leaving him on in pain.”
Archie and his squad now look towards Friday night’s clash with Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership as the Jags attempt to gather their first points of the campaign. Kick-off for this all-ticket match at Firhill is 19:45.
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