ALAN ARCHIBALD says that the fear of being branded a failure at Partick Thistle is driving him on to take the club back to the Premiership at the first time of asking.

The Firhill boss was devastated by the club’s relegation last term, and despite questions being raised over his future in the immediate aftermath of the play-off final defeat to Livingston, he says that his depth of feeling for Thistle persuaded him to stick around and make amends.

And as they embark on their Championship campaign today at Ayr’s Somerset Park, he is glad to be facing the challenge ahead with players who share his passion for the Jags.

“When you are a manager, you don’t want to be a failure, and last season we failed,” he said. “We got relegated, and you don’t want to leave on that sort of note.

“The last thing you want to do at a club is to go out on a low like that. You want to leave on a high, and hopefully we can do that and get the club promotion.

“One of the reasons I stayed on was that I didn’t want to leave the club after such a long association with it with a bad taste in my mouth.

“I care for the club, and it was important that we had people like Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine stay for that reason too.

“I didn’t have to twist their arm. They were among the first people I spoke to on the Tuesday after the relegation on the Sunday, and they were keen to stay. They care for the club as well, and they wanted to put what happened right.

“A lot of the players have a good feeling for the club now, it has been good to them, and that gives them the appetite for the challenge ahead.”

Archibald recognises however that his squad are going into the first weeks of the season a little light in numbers, and he is working desperately hard to bolster his ranks before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

“We need at least three players in by the end of the window,” he said. “I thought we had a striker in, and maybe two strikers this week in fact, but we missed out on both.

“That is disappointing, but that’s the nature of it now. It was hard enough in the Premiership to attract players, never mind the Championship.

“We’re trying all the time because we need to make sure we have enough bodies in and enough competition.

“The depth is obviously a concern, but we also want to add a bit of quality and versatility.

“At the top of the pitch we’re obviously a bit short. We’ve only really got Kris Doolan who is an out-and-out striker, although we’ve got Miles Storey who can cover there.

“Stuart Bannigan picked up a knock, which was unlucky for him because he was looking magnificent, so we are a bit short too when it comes to an aggressive midfielder.

“I think we need that combative presence in this league, and I’d like a bit of competition at the back too.

“Niall Keown is still here, and we don’t know how that is going to pan out. We’ve only really got three centre-halves in the building at the moment.”

Thistle will travel down to Ayr today though with what they have, and Archibald hopes his men will have heeded the harsh lessons dished out to them in last week’s Betfred Cup defeat at the hands of the same opposition.

“We’re under no illusions about how hard it will be, and I told the players that last week,” he said.

“When you come up as a team like they have and manage to retain the core of the squad, they are going to be confident.

“They are a good side with a really good front pairing, and that’s what they showed last week.

“We have to make sure we are up for the challenge, and I think last week was a bit of an eye-opener for some of them about how hard it is going to be this season.”