Staying up's a high the boys deserve ... and we can do better

EVERYONE at Firhill is still on a huge high after we ensured that we will be playing Premiership football next season with the win over Hearts on Wednesday night.

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Alan Archibald embraces midfielder Christie Elliott after Thistle had secured Premiership place
Alan Archibald embraces midfielder Christie Elliott after Thistle had secured Premiership place

We set out to avoid relegation at the start of the campaign and to do so with a game to spare, and to sit seventh going into the fixture with Ross County today is a terrific achievement.

When you look back at the season, you have to give the boys a lot of credit for how they have adapted to this level and the way they have performed.

They have played with freedom and belief and they deserve all the credit that they get.

There is no doubt we deserve to be in this division - it would have been a travesty if we had ended up in the play-offs.

The boys have shown a lot of character because they have had a few setbacks along the way.

As I have said in previous columns, it has been a really frustrating season at times but it is one that everyone, including myself and Alan, will learn from and build on. Hopefully we can have an even better season next time.

We want to be in this league for many years to come. Alan said after the game on Wednesday that the target for us was to be like your St Mirrens and St Johnstones, teams that have come up and established themselves in the top flight.

The boys have played the teams and players in the Premiership and shown that they can match them.

For us, it is onwards and upwards. It is important that we enjoy the achievement but the hard work will start again soon for next season.

There have been some tricky spells this season. We dominated games and outplayed teams but weren't getting the results.

Myself and Alan are always honest and would say if we were beaten by a better team or didn't deserve anything from a game.

But more often than not we were coming away scratching our heads at how we hadn't won games or disappointed to only get a point.

Again, the players deserve credit for how they responded to those games. Not once did they go into a shell and start hiding: they all wanted on the ball and wanted to play their football.

We don't dwell on the past but, looking at the Hibs game, when we were 1-0 up and they scored with a couple of minutes left, you say to yourself: "This might come back to haunt us."

But the boys showed great character in the second half at Tynecastle and deserved to win the game and stay up with a game to go. At 2-1 down in the dressing room at half-time, they had a big task ahead but they went out and played great stuff.

There was a lot of pressure on them with what was at stake. It was the opposite for Hearts, they had no pressure on them, and haven't had since they were relegated a couple of weeks ago.

Once we got the boys in at half-time, we could regroup. A few words were said, and they took it on board to put on a great performance.

We are delighted to not have the situation where we needed something from the Ross County game this afternoon. The pressure would have been unreal.

It is great that we are not involved in the battle to avoid 11th today and we can go out and hopefully put on a good performance. It would be great if we could finish on a high and finish with a win in front of our fans at Firhill.

I have to give a mention to the fans. They were terrific, yet again, at Tynecastle and we thank them for their support this season. Hopefully we can send them away happy for the last time this afternoon.

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