Archibald wary of dig in the Hibs as drop battle hits a nervy conclusion

ALAN ARCHIBALD insists Partick Thistle won't underestimate out-of-sorts Hibs when they head to Easter Road tomorrow.

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Alan Archibald's Partick Thistle side will take nothing for granted when they take on Hibernian at Easter Road tomorrow
Alan Archibald's Partick Thistle side will take nothing for granted when they take on Hibernian at Easter Road tomorrow

Terry Butcher's side find themselves embroiled in the battle to beat the drop this term after a barren run of form and they crashed to another derby defeat at home to Hearts last weekend.

Victory for the Jags this week would pile even more pressure on the capital club and give their own survival ambitions a timely boost ahead of the final two top flight fixtures.

But boss Archibald insists Thistle can take nothing for granted as the battle to beat the drop intensifies.

He said: "Everyone is writing Hibs off but every club down there all still has a chance of finishing seventh in the table.

"Because people are writing them off, that will spur Hibs on.

"It certainly did when the same thing was happening to us earlier in the season.

"We've all been on bad runs of form. It's tough when you're struggling to get that win.

"But Hibs have to win some time - we must make sure it isn't against us.

"It's dangerous writing them off. That's my worry this week, people aren't expecting anything from them. But they will be like a wounded animal.

"It's hard to play against a team like that. It was like us when we couldn't win at home. It was eventually going to happen against someone and it did.

"They showed plenty determination against Hearts last week and they'll have even more against us because of the amount of pressure people are placing on them."

With just a hat-trick of games left this term, Thistle still have a fighting chance of retaining their Premiership status and rounding off what has been an impressive campaign overall on their return to Scotland's top tier.

Having spent nine years trying to get out of the First Division, a quickfire return to the Championship would come at the worst possible time for the Firhill side.

Rangers and Hearts are already promotion favourites for what will be a hotly contested second tier campaign.

And Archibald admits avoiding the drop this season will be crucial if the club are to continue building for a brighter future.

He said: "It is vital (to have that stability). You just need to look at the likes of St Johnstone. They are the benchmark for teams like ourselves, and St Mirren have been up for a few years now as well.

"It lets you go out and build on what you have already got.

"We knew how hard it was to get players in at the start of the season.

"So if you can stay for a couple of years and not be a 'yo-yo' team it is easier to get players in and they will come and pledge their futures."

Thistle have taken four points from their first two post-split fixtures against Kilmarnock and St Mirren.

Striker Kris Doolan has impressed since being recalled to the starting line-up in recent weeks and Archibald has hailed his top scorer for his recent fine run of form in front of goal.

He said: "I think Lyle Taylor coming in has helped him and taken some of the weight off his shoulders.

"We have got great competition there.

"Lyle has looked really good when he has come off the bench and Dools is on fire at the moment.

"You get that with strikers sometimes and Lyle can't have any complaints because Kris is scoring goals."

Football

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