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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Cardle looking forward to clash with defending champions

Topping the assist charts for Partick Thistle this season has been wide midfielder, Joe Cardle. The 32-year-old has set up seven goals while bagging four of his own in 28 games this season for the Jags and has had produced in some important moments as of late. For example, he won both of Thistle’s penalties as they came from behind to get a draw at Alloa and scored the goal that sparked a turnaround at Palmerston Park to start December. Now, he’s hoping to have another telling performance as Thistle look to cause the upset of all upsets against three time treble winners, Celtic in the Scottish Cup. Joe spoke to ahead of the meeting:

“It’s obviously a huge game for us; these sort of occasions are the ones you grow up wanting to be a part of. It’s the cup too so anything can happen on the day but if we want to cause an upset we have to turn up and give it our all.”

Celtic have won every major domestic trophy on offer in Scotland over the past three seasons and Cardle is under no illusions about the size of the challenge Thistle are facing this weekend.

“It’s a massive task and we all know how successful they’ve been in all competitions recently. Nevertheless, these runs are meant to end at some point and it would be great to be the team that brings that streak to an end. That’s why I think the boys are looking forward to this one and hopefully we can produce something magic.”

The Maryhill men faced Neil Lennon’s side in the Betfred Cup earlier this season, just a couple of days after Ian McCall returned to the club with the game ending 5-0 but Joe feels the group has come a long way since that evening.

“The team has come on leaps and bounds. It’s a pretty similar squad now to the one back then but now we’ve got a way we play and the manager’s got a couple of boys in this week so we’re just really excited to get out there on Saturday.”

To beat the defending Scottish Cup champions Thistle are going to have to be on top of their game in every way but the Jags’ number seven reckons self-belief could be a very important factor.

“In a game like this one, you need to believe in yourself and make the most of the time you get on the ball. There are going to be periods of the game when we’re under pressure but when we do get the ball we have to try to play football and create chances for the guys up front and you can’t do that if you don’t believe in yourself.”

Finally, Joe further discussed the two new arrivals from this week, Darian MacKinnon and Zak Rudden, who have been in training ahead of the Celtic game.

“So far so good. They’ve both looked really good in the couple of sessions we’ve had with them. For Daz, he’s someone who’s played at the top level in Scotland for a long time now and he’s someone you hate playing against. With Zak, we played against him last season and he’s got that eye for goal which we’ve seen in training so here’s hoping they can both help us going forward.”

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