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Hall of Fame 2022: Alan Archibald to be inducted

Player. Captain. Manager. Legend.

These were the words which adorned a banner in the John Lambie Stand as the Red and Yellow Army paid tribute to a man who has now given over 20 years of service to Partick Thistle. The achievements of Alan Archibald, both as a player and a manager, will stand the test of time and ensure his place remains firmly among the elite in the history of the club.

Alan came through the youth ranks and broke into the first team at Firhill at a time where the club’s very existence was in doubt. As the supporters rallied to save the club they loved, Alan broke into the starting eleven making the number three jersey his own during a turbulent 1997/98 campaign. A tough couple of years followed for the club, but Alan cemented his place in the side barely missing a game earning valuable first team experience as a young player.

When John Lambie returned as manager in the spring of 1999, it marked a shift and rejuvenation of the club and in the 2000/01 campaign, Alan secured his first league title winners medal of his career, missing just two games as Lambie’s side surged to the Second Division title by almost 20 points. If that success was expected by the Jags support, the following season saw supporters taken to another level. Again, Alan was an almost ever present in the side as John Lambie’s Jags reached a Scottish Cup semi final at Hampden while also securing the First Division title to mark a return to the Scottish Premier League.

The return to the top flight had everyone writing the club off but, with a strong core of players retained from back to back success, the Jags gave it everything they had in a bid to stay up. Alan reached his 200th appearance in red and yellow in late 2002, netting a double in a home draw against Hearts to mark the occasion. Against all the odds, Thistle finished in 10th position to retain top flight status in John Lambie’s final full season as Jags gaffer.

The summer of 2003 saw the squad which had achieved so much break away with players joining clubs throughout Scotland. Alan headed to Tannadice signed by, ironically, current Jags boss Ian McCall as he built his squad for Dundee United. Archibald remained a consistent pick in the colours of United, reaching the Scottish Cup Final in 2005 but ultimately having to settle for a runners-up medal.

There was always a feeling that Alan’s business wasn’t quite finished in Maryhill and in January 2007 speculation grew amongst supporters that a return to Firhill might have been on the cards for a man Jags fans class as one of their own. On transfer deadline day, 31st January 2007 the deal was done. Alan returned to the club on a contract originally lasting until the end of the 2008/09 campaign.

His second spell as a Jag started by being part of the squad which stabilised their place in the First Division before, he was reunited once again with Ian McCall who was appointed as new Jags gaffer in the summer of 2007. He remained a constant pick and over the next five years was a regular in the first team, barring two spells where he was side-lined through injury. Never phased, Alan fought his way back and would find himself quickly back into the defensive ranks of the side.

The 2012/13 campaign is one that will never be forgotten by any Thistle fan and Alan Archibald plays a central role in the success of that season. With experience already under his belt as a youth coach, Archie combined his playing role with a coaching one for the flourishing under 19s side. A strong start to the season saw Jackie McNamara’s side challenging at the top end of the First Division table.

Jackie McNamara’s departure to Dundee United on 30th January 2013 left a void in the manager’s position in the club. It was quickly decided that Alan, assisted by former defensive partner Scott Paterson would take interim charge of the side. By the time of his first game, an away trip to title challengers Greenock Morton, Thistle were eight points off the summit with three games in hand. A 2-2 draw was fought out sparking scenes of celebration in the home end as the ‘Ton supporters believed they were destined for the Premiership – they hadn’t counted on the effect Alan would have on his Jags team.

A run of eight straight victories saw the deficit overturned and Thistle surged clear at the top of the division. Just days after a heart-breaking penalty shoot-out Ramsden’s Cup defeat to Queen of the South, Alan rallied his players to finish off the job they had worked so hard on in the league. The visit of Greenock Morton to Maryhill saw almost 9,000 within Firhill to watch James Craigen’s immortalised strike push the Jags five points clear. A trip to Falkirk saw the title secured and the Jags faithful enjoyed a summer of partying ahead of a Premiership survival challenge.

If getting Thistle to the top flight was a tremendous achievement, keeping them there for five consecutive seasons was an even greater feat. A tough baptism of fire in the inaugural Scottish Premiership campaign saw Thistle secure their status with a game to spare courtesy of a midweek win at Tynecastle. Alan evolved an easy to watch playing style on his side and continued to build steadily each season to establish Thistle within the top flight of Scottish football.

Season 2016/17 would bring the culmination of Alan’s managerial efforts as a sensational run of form in the second half of the season saw Thistle secure a top six finish – the highest placing by the side since 1981.

A tough season followed as Alan dealt with an unprecedented injury crisis throughout the campaign, but the side remained competitive only missing out on automatic survival on goal difference. Despite a playoff defeat to Livingston the Jags board, and the man himself, wanted the opportunity to right the wrong by bouncing back at the first attempt. Following a slow start to the season, a tough decision was made to part ways.

Less than 12 months after leaving Firhill, Alan was back – this time as part of Ian McCall’s management team as an assistant manager where he remains an integral part to the current day. As part of the management team, Alan won his fourth league title with Partick Thistle last campaign as the side won League One.

It’s hard to put into words the legacy that Alan has achieved since first breaking into the side in early 1997. As a player he featured 423 times for the club, sitting in the top ten of all-time appearances. As a manager, he achieved the club’s highest placing in a generation. He has given numerous Thistle Weir Youth Academy graduates their first steps into professional football. At Thistle’s hour of need, he steered the team to a First Division title which helped bring stability to the club on and off the pitch. The sale of Liam Lindsay, a player who flourished under his management, remains a club record fee. In winning the 2000/01 Second Division, 2001/02 First Division, 2012/13 First Division and 2020/21 League One, Alan has won four of the eight titles that the Club have secured in its history.

Alan Archibald will now take his place in the Partick Thistle Hall of Fame as his journey with the club continues.

Alan will be inducted into our Hall of Fame at the eighth Partick Thistle Hall of Fame dinner which will take place on Friday 22nd April

Taking place in the iconic Alan Rough Lounge, six more Thistle legends will be immortalised into our club Hall of Fame.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame dinner are now sold out.

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