Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald has defended Gary Fraser after the midfielder crashed the ball into the Celtic support towards the end of his side’s defeat at Celtic Park.

The 23-year-old, who had replaced Blair Spittal with a little over a quarter of an hour remaining, booted the ball into the main stand as frustration got the better of him in the dying minutes of the match.

But Jags boss Archibald insisted after the game that there was no malice in Fraser’s actions, and that there is no way that his player meant to hurt anyone, as nobody in their right mind would have intentionally booted the ball into the crowd with such force.

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“He didn’t mean it,” said Archibald. “He tries to hit the board out of frustration.

“He’s frustrated he didn’t start the game, then he’s taken a bad touch. I don’t think there was any malice in it, he’s not that type of lad.

“We’ll deal with it. He’s not done it deliberately. He’s tried to apologise there at the end. That’s all we can do.

“I think he’s tried to smash the ball off the boards. Nobody in their right mind would try and do that from so close, especially with the way he strikes the ball. There was no reason for it, nothing in it, it was just a heavy touch and frustration he never started the match either.”

Archibald was disappointed in his players for their use of the ball on the night as they went down by two goals to nil, with a decent enough defensive performance not matched by providing a threat going the other way.

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“We kept our shape reasonably well for the first 30 minutes, that was the game plan to frustrate,” he said.

“I thought we did that, there was some rumbles at that time then we lost the goal. I was disappointed the manner of that. I know it’s a great strike, but we should be tighter in the box. But we didn’t do enough.

“I thought our ball retention was really poor tonight I have been here and lost heavily and still played better than that. That is what let us down.”