PARTICK THISTLE manager Alan Archibald wants his players to take advantage of a run of winnable games – knowing nasty November is just around the corner.

Four of Thistle’s next six games are at Firhill as the Jags look to build on two strong performances against Rangers and get their first win of the season against Hearts tomorrow. Archibald knows it will be vital to pick up points against the likes of Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Dundee in the weeks ahead with daunting, back-to-back trips to Ibrox, Tynecastle and Celtic Park to follow.

He said: “The fixtures coming up is something we are all aware of. Other managers might be the same as me, looking at the run of games coming up. We know who we’ve got to play and it’s vital we take points from these games. They become six pointers.

“Even in this week’s fixtures, the teams that are round about us in the table are starting to play each other. So it’s important we take points. We did that last year taking points from the teams round about us.

“We’ve got quite a few home games coming up which is massive. And we know about November when we had to switch the fixture for Hearts and so we’re on the road a lot that month with some tough games. So we know how big a month the end of September going into October is going to be.”

Thistle took great credit from their displays against Rangers, earning a 2-2 draw in the league last Friday before going down in extra-time in their Betfred Cup quarter-final. Although there is disappointment at seeing their cup dreams dashed, Archibald hoped the level of performance would continue against Hearts.

He added: “They were good performances so there are a lot of positives to take from them. We scored good goals in the games so we just need to take that into the Hearts game and get that victory that we’re waiting on.

“The players are raring to go. We gave them a day off on Wednesday and they were positive when they came back in. They weren’t as tired as I thought they were going to be and were in good spirits, both mentally and physically.

“So they’re really looking forward to the Hearts game. They realise they put a lot in to those two Rangers games. They were positive about taking a point in the Friday night game and then there was disappointment the other night. But hopefully they can put all that together and come up with a victory this weekend.”

Archibald will need to do without Conor Sammon who started the cup tie against Rangers but can’t play against parent club Hearts as part of his loan arrangement.

The manager added: “Connor will be a miss for it, especially based on his form the other night. He’s been a great addition to the squad. He’s been great in the dressing room, a really good lad, and he’s got great experience as well. It’s probably the first time he’s played right through the middle for us as in the second half of last season at Kilmarnock he was playing wide. And we’ve utilised him wide as well. He was a handful the other night and we used him well. We didn’t lump high balls to him. He was the right choice of striker for that game.”

Archibald was relishing the chance to test himself against Craig Levein having previously played under him at Dundee United. “I know Craig. I worked under him for a spell and he will be well-organised and meticulous in his planning.”