A team near the foot of the Premiership table taking on a team doing well in the Championship, away from home, on a plastic pitch. Tomorrow’s Scottish Cup fourth round clash between Partick Thistle and Queen of the South at Palmerston seems to have all the ingredients for a potential shock.

That is something Thistle manager Alan Archibald recognises, and he has made sure that his players are acutely aware of it too, warning them that they must treat their opponents as if they were Premiership opposition.

The top-flight’s winter break has afforded Archibald the opportunity to watch the Doonhamers at close quarters, and he has been impressed by what he saw, singling out 20-goal Stephen Dobbie as the man his players will have to pay special attention to.

“People look at a side which is at the bottom end of one league going in against a side at the top half of another league, and so there will always be a couple of shocks, so we need to make sure it’s not us,” said Archibald.

“It does happen, and the players are aware of that. We’ll be treating it as we would against another team in our league. We need to go about our business in the right way against a good side.

“I had a good chance to see them on a number of occasions during the winter break. They have a good mix of experience and good young players.

“We know we need to stop Dobbie as he has a good record with a raft of goals already this season and he has good quality.

“But we have done okay in this competition in the last couple of seasons, so hopefully this is the start of a good run for us again.”

There is many a manager who would have a gripe about having to play on an artificial surface in such a game, but Archibald believes it may actually prove a good thing given the time of year. And he has made it clear that no excuses over the playing surface will be acceptable should his men slip up.

“The plastic pitch can be a good thing as you could be going to a horrible pitch in January where it’s all rutted,” he said. “We are going to a consistent surface and we know what we are getting.

“There are no excuses as we’ve trained on one for the last two months. So, we are happier with that than going to a torn-up grass pitch.”

With that being said, Archibald does admit that the 4G surface may influence his team selection for the match, particularly when he mulls over how to handle the return of Callum Booth, Mustapha Dumbuya and captain Abdul Osman.

“The surface may be a factor with one or two of my selections,” the Jags boss said. “There are one or two who aren’t that comfortable on it when they are coming back from injury. At any other time, we would just play them.”

Archibald was hoping that he may not have to delve into the transfer market in the January window with the raft of players climbing off of the treatment table, but the departure of Jordan Turnbull has forced his hand.

“We are trying to get someone in, because it’s a left sided defender we are trying to get like for like,” he said.

“Jordan was out of the blue as we spoke to Coventry in December and he wasn’t going back to them.

“Northampton then suffered injuries and they’ve taken him and we’d like to get one in, but it’s unlikely to happen before Saturday.”