Archibald not fazed by dugout debut in big clash

ALAN ARCHIBALD is confident Partick Thistle can rise to the occasion when they face Morton tomorrow.

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Partick Thistle's Stephen O'Donnell will be available for selection tomorrow against Morton after his recent injury lay-off
Partick Thistle's Stephen O'Donnell will be available for selection tomorrow against Morton after his recent injury lay-off

The Jags head into the Cappielow clash eight points adrift in the Irn-Bru First Division and eager to keep up the pressure on Allan Moore's side in the title race.

With three games in hand over their Greenock counterparts, the championship is still in Thistle's hands as they look to record their maiden win of the campaign over the Ton after slipping to 3-1 and 2-1 defeats so far this term.

Archibald has yet to take his side since being appointed interim boss following the departure of Jackie McNamara to Dundee United.

He will make his dugout debut in arguably Thistle's biggest match of the season so far but has faith in his Jags squad to emerge victorious.

He said: "It won't be easy for us but that is why you are in football, to play in big games like this.

"When we have played in big games and in front of big crowds we have reacted well to it and we need to do the same on Saturday.

"In the Morton game on Boxing Day, I thought we were outstanding in the first half, but we never took our chances and when we went down to 10 men they caused us more problems.

"The boys were great in the Dunfermline game in front of a big crowd as well. It is certainly one to look forward to on Saturday.

"There is a bit more pressure on us not to lose the game. Psychologically, we know it is still in our hands because of the games in hand and it is important that we keep thinking positively.

"You can look at it the other way and say it is better to have the points on the board, but we have to look at it as it is still in our hands. We will go there to win the game.

"We have not beaten them this season so we are desperate to win tomorrow.

"Morton are a good team and they are top of the league on merit. They have got a great away record and they have done well at home as well so we know how tough it is going to be.

"There are no easy games, but if you want to win the league you have got to go to places like Cappielow and get results."

WHILE Morton head into the Cappielow clash on the back of a comfortable win over Airdrie United last weekend, Thistle have not taken to the field since beating Cowdenbeath on January 26.

It has left them with a packed run of eight games in four weeks as they look to make up lost ground in the race for the league crown.

Archibald has defender Stephen O'Donnell and forward Steven Lawless availavble for selection following their recent injury lay-offs and the Firhill boss is not fazed by the hectic schedule.

He said: "It is disappointing when you get a lot of games called off, but it is one of these things that you have got to deal with.

"We have got a young squad so I am confident that we can deal with it.

"The main worry will be players picking up injuries and niggles and not having time to recover between games.

"Fitness wise, I don't have any worries about them. We have got a good squad and the boys are at a good age.

"The pitches could be heavy and it would be easy, but we have got a fit group of boys. We have got plenty of strength in depth as well."

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