PARTICK Thistle manager Alan Archibald is delighted to be faced with a selection headache for this weekend’s trip to St Johnstone after welcoming several players back to his squad.

Mustapha Dumbuya featured for the first time this season during Tuesday’s Ladbrokes Premiership defeat to Celtic after recovering from injury, while skipper Abdul Osman completed his first 90 minutes since August in Saturday’s Scottish Cup fourth round win over Queen of the South.

With Callum Booth also coming back to fitness and James Penrice available after returning from his loan at Livingston, Archibald was able to focus on the positives despite seeing the champions come back from a goal behind to inflict a 2-1 midweek defeat on the Jags at Firhill.

“The main positive was having a more or less new squad to pick from,” he said.

“It feels like having four new players. Our bench was really strong the other night and the guys who came in have given me real selection headache for this weekend.

“In the first half of the season we were into double figures when we couldn’t fill the bench.

“We now have options and that makes a massive difference. I have a headache which I’m glad about as I didn’t have it before.”

Bournemouth defender Baily Cargill arrived on loan earlier this week to become Thistle’s first signing of the January transfer window, but Archibald is not expecting to see more new faces arrive now that his squad has been bolstered by the returnees.

“That was always the thought,” he said. “If we can get these guys back and they don’t break down.

“We actually have too many players now, which is a good problem to have.

“I don’t think we need to bring anyone else in. Getting Penrice, Osman, Booth, and Dumbaya back is huge.

“I think they have only played a couple of games between them since August. It is like getting four new players in.”

Tuesday’s defeat to Celtic saw Thistle remain in the relegation play-off place, but only seven points separates the Firhill outfit from the top six.

Archibald admitted he was frustrated to see his side come away with nothing after a close contest against the league leaders and believes that the Jags need to start picking up points against the top sides to alleviate some of the pressure when they face bottom-six rivals.

Thistle have picked up just one point from six games against Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen this season, a run that the manager wants to end.

“We should have taken more points from them and it puts more pressure on us when we face the teams around us,” he said.

“We probably have one of the poorer records against the top guys.

“We very rarely get turned over, but we don’t get over the line often enough.

“We would like to fix that as it would make it easier in the big six-point games.”

The trip to McDiarmid Park on Saturday kicks off a crucial month for the Jags in which they will face five of the bottom seven teams in the league.

Thistle have struggled for results on their travels this season and are still waiting to record their first away win, but Perth has been a happy hunting ground, with a 3-0 victory in the Betfred Cup back in August extending their impressive run of just three defeats there since achieving promotion to the top-flight in 2013.

“I hope that helps as our away from has been really poor,” said Archibald.

“It has let us down badly. We have won away in the cup but our league form hasn’t been good enough.

“Hopefully, it will give the players a bit of comfort that they have won there already this season.

“We have 15 games to go. We are second bottom but if we can get wins against the teams around us that is the incentive.”