Alan Archibald looks forward to Partick Thistle's Christmas crackers

ALAN ARCHIBALD hopes there will be plenty of festive cheer at Firhill as the Partick Thistle skipper targets a cracking Christmas period to set the Jags up for a shot at title glory.

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Partick Thistle stopper Alan Archibald is delighted with his side's home form
Partick Thistle stopper Alan Archibald is delighted with his side's home form

Jackie McNamara's side stretched their advantage at the top of the Irn-Bru First Division to two points on Saturday, clinching a last-gasp 3-2 home win over Raith Rovers while nearest challengers Dunfermline faltered at home to Hamilton.

Thistle are not back in action until Boxing Day, when they face fellow promotion hopefuls Morton, Allan Moore's side making the trip to Glasgow just three points off the pace in the title race.

The Ton then square up against Jim Jefferies' Pars side on December 29 as the Jags head to relegation battlers Airdrie.

The league leaders also face Hamilton and Livingston in a tricky festive fixture calendar, and Archibald said: "We know it is a big time around Christmas, we have got a couple of huge fixtures coming up.

"We knew this one was massive. Raith are doing really well and you could see that they are a good team.We have got a key game against Morton coming up and the game in hand as well.

"Results went for us last week, which was a bonus as well. Christmas is big any time you are going for a league title.

"The games come thick and fast and it is vital that you win your home games. We face Morton and then they and Dunfermline meet each other where something has got to give.

"We are confident and, as long as we do our business, we will be delighted."

Saturday's Raith victory saw McNamara's side extend their superb league form at Firhill as they kept up their 100% record in dramatic fashion.

Despite heading into the half-time break with a 2-1 advantage, after Stuart Bannigan and Steven Lawless cancelled out Greig Spence's opener, it took a late winner from Steven Craig to clinch the points after Brian Graham pulled Rovers level with just nine minutes remaining.

With rugby side Glasgow Warriors now playing at Scotstoun after leaving Firhill this summer, the pitch is in far better condition this season and Archibald reckons the smooth surface has been key to the Jags' success.

He said: "We are very proud of our record. We played a couple of pre-season friendlies here and the boys enjoyed it. We had the tournament and we have kicked on ever since then.

"We enjoy it, we are playing good football and winning in front of the fans. We are proud of our record. Without a doubt, there is a massive difference not having the Warriors.

"When you looked at it last year, there was hardly a blade of grass on it.

"The groundsman is fantastic, he works very, very hard and the pitch is fantastic.

"We want to play football as much as we can, although I can take myself out of that. You can see the likes of Bannigan, Lawless and Erskine passing the ball.

"It is probably a blessing in disguise Warriors playing elsewhere. I know the financial side of it is not great, but it is leading to good football."


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