FIVE years is a long time. In football management, it is an eternity.

On Tuesday, Partick Thistle’s Alan Archibald reached a landmark that is becoming ever rarer in the game by celebrating his fifth anniversary as manager.

The 40-year-old is Scotland’s second longest-serving boss, behind Jim McInally of Peterhead, and has become synonymous with the Jags after spending 13-and-a-half years at the club as a player before making the transition to the technical area.

It has been a memorable ride so far and throughout triumph and turbulence the former defender has remained a constant presence.

Reflecting on his spell in charge, Archibald shows no signs of having lost the passion and pride that have characterised his reign since stepping into the role on 30 January 2013.

“It has been great – a real rollercoaster of emotions,” he said.

“I never thought on that day it would work out like that. I have a good relationship with the club and we have both prospered from it. I’m learning all the time and still learning after five years.”

He added: “As a player and manager I’ve spent about half my life here. In all it’s 20 years since I signed when I was 16 and the club has been great to me.

“There are really good people about the club who have been here since I joined, some of them volunteers who don’t get paid. There’s such a good feeling about the place.

“If you ask any players who come to Partick Thistle, even for a short spell, there’s not many who have a bad word to say about the place.”

Archibald was initially drafted in on an interim basis following Jackie McNamara’s departure for Dundee United, with the club aiming to achieve promotion from the old First Division.

By March he had earned a permanent deal at Firhill and a Manager of the Month award to boot, but Archibald admits the appointment came as something of a surprise.

“I was kind of ready for it, but I was kind of thrown in as well because there was no one else to take over,” he said.

“There was nothing in place because Jackie’s departure came right out of the blue, so it was more or less ‘just get on with it’.

“Thankfully the board let me get Scott (Paterson) in because I needed support. It was just myself and the goalie coach so to get Scott in as my assistant and build that support network round about me certainly helped.”

Archibald led his side to the First Division title that season with a squad featuring six players who remain at the club to this day; Kris Doolan, Chris Erskine, Ryan Scully, Stuart Bannigan, Steven Lawless and Christie Elliott.

Flirts with relegation trouble have come and gone in the four-and-a-half years since, but the manager insists he has never felt close to the sack after the board kept faith in him through the good times and the bad.

“I’ve got a good relationship with the board and usually know what’s going on at the club,” he said.

“We’ve always been open and I’ve always been honest enough to say when it’s my fault when things aren’t going well with the club or explain if there are other reasons for it. So no, I’ve never really gone in any morning thinking that this might be it.

“Of course you (need patience). We are generally in the bottom half of the league, so you need a good understanding. There is honesty between myself and everybody who works at the club.

“When we have bad times we stick together and when we have good times we stick together. There is a strategic plan to take the club forward.”

Thistle secured their first-ever top six finish last season but looking back on his time in charge, Archibald picks out a different moment as the highlight of his time in charge so far.

“The club struggled for a long time just getting into the Premiership so my overall emotion that stands out was the relief of staying up in our first year back up,” he said.

“We didn’t want to be a yo-yo and go right back down so surviving that year was crucial to giving us a chance to go and build on our progress.

“That was an even bigger high than finishing in the top six last year. Just knowing that we’d kept the club up and could build on the belief that we took from that was huge.”

The 2017/18 campaign remains unpredictable for Thistle, as a win at Motherwell today would be enough to lift them from the relegation play-off spot to within two points of the top six, but regardless of the short-term goals it is the bigger picture that remains the most important thing for the Firhill boss.

“I’m definitely a better manager for the ups and downs and I think the board have learned from it too,” he said.

“It’s made it tougher at times but there’s no doubt it has made me a better manager.

“It’s nice to be part of something that has a long-term plan rather than the short termism that you see too often in football. If I was to walk away tomorrow I could look back and reflect on it and say it’s been great.”