Partick V Celtic at Firhill Stadium : Match Preview

By
17 May 2017

Alan Archibald tells his Partick Thistle squad to prepare for Celtic barrage

Boss Alan Archibald has warned his Partick Thistle side to be ready from the first whistle against Celtic at Firhill on Thursday night.

The treble-chasing Hoops have gone 44 domestic games unbeaten since the start of the season and show no signs of slowing down.

Brendan Rodgers' side showed their prowess against second-placed Aberdeen at Pittodrie last Friday night when they raced into a three-goal lead after only 11 minutes, before running out 3-1 winners.

Thistle are one of the few sides to have taken anything at all from Celtic this season in a 1-1 Ladbrokes Premiership draw last month.

And while Archibald would dearly love to go one better, he believes his side will first of all have to withstand a high-tempo start from the visitors.

He said: "We did well to get a point that night. You need to tick every box, you need eight or nine guys playing at the top end of their game, your goalkeeper to produce good saves and take your chances and we did that.

"But in the first half they nearly blew us away, we couldn't touch them but the second-half was much better.

"We caused them a few problems.

"But we touched on that today with the lads and went over that with them, we can't afford to start that way.

"You seen the way they blew Aberdeen away in the first 15 minutes on Friday night.

"I think they are sometimes better away from home, they are a bit more dynamic and go for the jugular so we need to make sure we start well and are well in the game.

"We know now that we have got a point from them and we can hopefully exploit some of their negatives.

"There are not many but hopefully we can do that."

Archibald is more concerned with securing at least one post-split victory before the end of the season than ending the Hoops' unbeaten domestic run.

The former Jags defender said: "It would be a massive three points. We just want to sign off with three points in one or two of our last games.

"We have got in the top six and not won a game and that has been hugely frustrating, so it is more about our pride.

"We are not really interested in stopping Celtic in terms of that (run), it is more about three points and give our fans something to cheer about for the end of the season."

Celtic assistant manager Chris Davis admitted it has been a "special" year as they chase the treble.

"We have had a brilliant year here professionally and personally and there is still a lot more to come.

"We have a big couple of weeks coming up but it has been a brilliant year.

"What we want to do is give the fans a team they are proud of, that is all you want to do at a football club and I think we have done that this year and we want to keep doing that.

"I will never forget the day we came up to see Brendan being unveiled. It was the first time I had been to Celtic Park and when you saw it you knew what an amazing club it is.

"We had our dreams and objectives for the season and it has been a special year."

He added: "Celtic is one of the biggest clubs in the world and the big clubs in the world want to be a force in European football as well.

"There is obviously a reality that we can't compete with the very biggest clubs in Europe, I think we all know that.

"But I certainly think next season that we can make a bigger impact in Europe than we did this year.

"First you have to navigate your way through the qualification process and hopefully we can do that and once we get in there for sure we won't have a harder group and for sure we will be better individually and collectively than we were this year."

Davies revealed striker Moussa Dembele is in light training as he recovers from a hamstring problem, but remains a doubt for the Cup final.


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