Comeback man Cairney can hurt ex-Jags mates

ALAN ARCHIBALD has warned Partick Thistle to be wary of a rejuvenated Paul Cairney when they head to Easter Road tomorrow.

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Comeback man Cairney can hurt ex-Jags team-mates
Comeback man Cairney can hurt ex-Jags team-mates

The Jags make the trip to the Capital aiming to record a much- needed Premiership win and spoil new boss Terry Butcher's first game in the Leith dugout.

After making the move along the M8 from Firhill last summer, Cairney found himself out of the picture under former Hibs gaffer Pat Fenlon this term.

The arrival of Butcher has given the midfielder a timely shot in the arm and Archibald knows the former Jags favourite will be a threat tomorrow.

The Thistle boss said: "I think Paul maybe thought the door was closed on his Hibs career, but Terry likes that type of player.

"He is a cheeky chappie and gets about the pitch and he can give you something different in the final third.

"He can give you a bit of creativity at the top end of the pitch and that was probably something they were missing.

"I think you can see the difference in Paul Cairney, and a few of them. It is most of the same personnel, but you can see the difference in how they go about their business and that happens when a new manager comes in.

"I think Paul was frustrated and then he got injured and his fitness went.

"I spoke to him the last time they were here and he was just coming back.

"Paul Cairney has got to be fit, he knows that himself.

"You saw glimpses of him last year when he first went there.

"He can be a big player for Hibs, as you saw when he first went there and he was flying.

"He has come back looking sharp. Hibs fans like players like that, they like Chic Charnleys, Frank Sauzees, guys that are a bit different and he can do that on his day."

After enjoying a solid start to the Premiership campaign, Thistle have struggled to find their form in recent weeks as they have fallen down the standings.

Fenlon paid the price for Hibs' poor start to the campaign and Archibald is expecting a hotly- contested Capital clash.

He said: "It has been a while now, the Inverness game was our last victory.

"It is the same with Hibs, their last victory was probably when they played us.

"It will be a different team we are playing against this week. It will be the same personnel but with Terry in charge, I have seen a couple of games, and things will be different in terms of how they go about their business.

"It is similar to last week, the pressure is on Hibs because people are expecting something from them.

"We have pressure on ourselves because we need a win. A victory takes us level on points with Hibs so that is vital."

While Thistle still have a healthy 16-point lead over bottom side Hearts, the second half of the standings is congested, with just a handful of points separating 11th-placed Kilmarnock and Butcher's side in seventh.

Thistle face their bottom six rivals in quick succession in the coming weeks and Archibald knows it is a defining period.

He said: "We're not far away from the problems. We know that. If we can get one win we are up to the same place as Hibs but so are Kilmarnock and Ross County aren't far away.

"We play them a couple of times in December and January.By the end of January we will know where we are as a team."

Football

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