A home win over Dundee might not be the biggest achievement of Alan Archibald’s career but it could go down as one of the most significant of his Partick Thistle tenure.

It isn’t a victory that has saved his job. It may be the one that transforms the Jags’ season, though.

The visit of Neil McCann’s side on Saturday was the proverbial relegation six-pointer for many observers. Lose, and the theory was that Archibald was standing on the brink at Firhill.

The reality was somewhat different, however, and now Thistle will hope that they have turned a corner in the Premiership after they earned their first league win at the tenth attempt.

After losing to Motherwell and Kilmarnock on successive weekends, and with Rangers, Hearts and Celtic to come next month, the 2-1 win over the Dees couldn’t have come at a better time for Archibald and his players.

Nobody outside of Firhill needed to tell Archibald that results so far this season haven’t been good enough. Crucially, those inside believe the 39-year-old is the man to turn Thistle’s campaign around.

When Archibald led his side to a top six finish last term, his stock as a boss was at an all-time high and he was being talked about as potentially the next Scottish manager to earn a shot at the English lower leagues.

Thistle’s fortunes may have changed since then, but Archibald’s ability and his promise hasn’t. He hasn’t become a worse manager in a couple of months, his methods and approach to the game haven't suddenly been rendered ineffective.

If anything, he will now be stronger for the experience of recent weeks as his side have once again stumbled their way through the opening fixtures and left themselves with plenty of work to do in the Premiership.

The former Jags defender isn’t a self-publicist. He did his talking on the pitch as a player, and his work in the dugout in recent years speaks volumes for his ability as a manager.

It is the way of the world these days that bosses are jettisoned whenever the going the gets tough and there are murmurings of discontent in the stands.

If Owen Coyle and Steve Clarke can secure Premiership places for Ross County and Kilmarnock respectively come May, then the decisions to fire Jim McIntyre and Lee McCulloch will be perceived as the right ones.

But there was no chance of David Beattie and his board pressing the panic button after just a handful of games this term. Rather than sack their manager, they have backed him.

It was a refreshing approach and a commendable stance. Hopefully it is one that pays off for Archibald and Thistle and the win at the weekend does prove to be a key date in the Jags’ calendar.

With a new state-of-the-art training complex in the pipeline and the Academy structure improving year on year, Thistle are a club that are moving in the right direction.

Relegation back to the Championship would be a major setback at all levels and if you offered the Jags a tenth place finish right now it would surely be accepted without hesitation.

The first step has been taken on the road to recovery. Now Thistle need to start striding forward if they are to climb the Premiership standings once again.


The sight of section upon section of empty seats at Hampden on Saturday afternoon was an embarrassing state of affairs. It is a situation the SPFL must look into, and one that Hibernian have to take responsibility for.

Every club wants to have as large a support behind them for semi-finals and finals as possible but Hibs would have known some time ago that they weren’t going to shift their full 20,000 allocation for the clash with Celtic.

Demand is always going to outstrip supply for Old Firm fans when it comes to matches at Hampden. Unfortunately, some that go week in week out, that are charged more at away grounds and have to put up with fixture switches for TV, will miss out on the big occasions.

But they shouldn’t be denied the chance while there are thousands of unsold seats inside a stadium that is hosting one of the showpiece events of Scottish football.